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The Ministry of Trade Commerce and Food Security and the Department of Commercemet with the Sri Lanka Seafood Exporter’s Association (SEAL) recently. The engagement was as part of a series of meetings that will be held to obtain views, ideas and propositions in identifying the most efficacious courses of action that can be taken to promote Fisheries exports of Sri Lanka to the world.

The Director of Lihini sea food Mr. Malintha Fernando,Director of Alpex Marine Mr. Janaka Mayakaduwa, Chief Executive Officer of Global Seafoods (Pvt) Ltd Mr. Sampath Ragindha, Financial Director of Jay Sea Foods Mr. Viraj Balapitiya, Mr. Bandula Karunarathne from John Seafoods, Managing Director at Northwest Fishery Mr. Shafraz Mowlana and Managing Director at Ceylon Fresh Seafood Mr. Prasad Gunathilaka and members of the Department of Commerce participated in this event.

This program is also used as a familiarization program for the trade representatives in Sri Lanka Embassies to devise novel ways of facilitating the business community to develop their business endeavors and boost exports. Addressing the gathering, Secretary Ministry of Trade A.M.P.M.B. Atapattu stated that the Ministry together with the Department of Commerce was committed to cooperate with the private sector and business support organizations to enhance their business activities, thus enabling the country to move forward as an export-oriented economy to overcome the current economic crisis.

 He assured that trade officers of Sri Lanka Embassies would engage with the private and corporate sector proactively in realizing their economic and trade objectives. The Fisheries industry is one important area for engagement in realizing the targets to become a $ 1 billion industry soon. 

Sri Lanka’s strength in the fisheries sector was highlighted by the member of the association stating that Sri Lanka boast of  34 EU approved fish processing establishments, close to 100 export companies, Famous for premium quality Tuna (Yellowfin, Skipjack, Bighead) ,crabs and Sustainable fishing technique ( 100% VMS licensed fishery vessels), Comply with all international regulations (CITES,IUU) ,19 fishery harbors ,Year-round fishing and  Social Compliance.

Exporters association members expressed their views that commercial officers overseas have an important and crucial role to play in being the forward linkage and closely working with their interlocutors abroad to identify market opportunities for the Fisheries sector to realize their full growth potential. The challenges including the market access barriers such as non-tariff measures   faced by the Fisheries exporters of Sri Lanka were discussed and Secretary agreed to resolve those challenges with the support of Department of Commerce officials attached to Sri Lanka missions abroad and in coordination with other relevant authorities in Sri Lanka.

Association also expressed that the Department of Commerce should adopt a well-structured mechanism to work closely with the business community with a periodic review process in place to reap positive results. Acting Director General of Commerce Ms.Gilma Dahanayake expressed the fullest support of Department of Commerce and decided to establish key performance indicators (KPI) to constructively move forward. 

Officials of the Department of Commerce participated in the discussion. The Department of Commerce, Trade Promotion Unit will continue to organize such interactions for the other main export industries of Sri Lanka consistently in order to engage with the business community in a more focused manner to realize the full export potential of the country.   

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