The economy of Sri Lanka continues to be bolstered by exports to other countries. The two best months for exports out of Sri Lanka were in March 2014 and March 2015. Both months exceeded $1 billion U.S.
The export trade in Sri Lanka dropped to $817 million in December 2015, but that number is still a long shot from the record low of $304 million in April 2003.
Sri Lanka’s biggest exports are textiles and clothing. They make up 40% of the country’s total exports. The next biggest export is tea at 17% of the national total. Sri Lanka also exports gems, spices, fish, rubber, and coconut-based products.
Sri Lanka’s most important export partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. The U.K. imports a lot of tea from Sri Lanka, which has been a major player in the tea industry since it began in the 19th century.
One key to driving future economic growth is finding more export partners in these and other countries. The more businesses that see a value in Sri Lanka’s resources and products, the more exports will increase.
In 2015, for example, U.S.-based health and wellness company Melaleuca.com began sourcing its new cinnamon bark essential oil from Sri Lanka, which was historically known as Spice Island. Cinnamon is one of the top spices exported from Sri Lanka, and while essential oils are different than dry spices, their worldwide popularity continues to grow. Melaleuca is one of several U.S. companies that rely on Sri Lankan exports for essential oils. Melaleuca products are not currently available in Sri Lanka, but with continuing cooperation through exportation, they soon may be.
In order fro Sri Lanka to achieve more economic success through exports, experts believe Sri Lanka needs to finalize more free trade agreements, decrease bureaucracy, and increase transparency. One other challenge to overcome is government debt. While Sri Lanka’s economy is one of the fastest growing in its region, government debt also continues to grow. Debt reduction can only lead to more long-term economic growth.