Further strengthening the longstanding relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey, bilateral trade between both countries continues to grow. “Both countries have regularised our dialogue and cooperation through the Turkey-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission. This provides a structured platform to develop and further advance the bilateral economic and technical partnership. Diversifying and broadening our economic agenda is a priority for both Governments. Turkey is becoming one of Sri Lanka’s important trading partners” announced Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training (ICTPDPCDSDVT) Rishad Bathiudeen on 29 October. Addressing the ‘96th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey’ celebrations held in Colombo, Minister Bathiudeen hinted that Turkey is no more a small trade partner of Sri Lanka.”Turkey is becoming one of Sri Lanka’s important trading partners. The total bilateral trade turnover in 2018 was US$ 351.18 Million” he added. According to Sri Lanka Department of Commerce (SLDOC), total bilateral trade in 2017 was US $ 318 Mn, which means total trade between both countries has grown in 2018 (YoY) by 10.4% and in comparison to 2016, the 2018 trade has surged by a huge 57% (from US $ 224 Mn). “Both countries are also formalising the legal framework for cooperation in sports, education, agriculture, SME development, customs and defence. We have also recognized the need to diversify our basket of exports to Turkey” Minister Bathiudeen added.
According to SLDOC, in 2018 Sri Lanka’s exports to Turkey was at US $ 218.4 Mn. 75% of exports to Turkey in 2018 were Ceylon Tea (at US $ 163 Mn), followed by yarn (8%), apparel (3.5%), and rubber tyres (2%).