UK – Sri Lanka Trade Relations
Formal trade links between Sri Lanka and the UK were established when Sri Lanka was a British Colony. It was the British who introduced commercial plantations, first coffee and then tea and rubber to Sri Lanka. The British also developed Sri Lanka's service industry - shipping, banking, insurance, brokering and transport systems to facilitate movement and export of plantation produce to international markets. Over the years, heavy reliance on export of primary agricultural produce has reduced considerably thus diversifying export product base and markets.
UK is Sri Lanka’s Second biggest export market after USA recording total export of US$ 1,024 Mn. in 2009, which is 14.4% of Sri Lanka’s total export to world in 2009 (Sri Lanka Total export in 2009 – US$ 7,085 Mn.)
UK market has absorbed 27% of total Sri Lankan apparel exports to the world in 2009 (total / US$ 3,117.9 Mn), making it the second largest export market for apparel after the USA (41.2%). Articles of apparel and clothing accessories have figured prominently among Sri Lanka’s exports to the UK market. Value of apparel exports which is at £ 568.7 Mn in 2009 has accounted for 81% of total imports into the UK from Sri Lanka in 2009.
Other important export items from Sri Lanka to the UK market which feature prominently include, fish, bicycles, rubber and article thereof, banknotes, tea, electrical machinery and equipment, gems and jewellery, coir products, ceramics, fruits & vegetables and toys.
Sri Lanka imports a wide variety of items from UK such as articles of iron and steel, machinery and machinery parts, paper and paper boards, beverages and sprits, pharmaceutical products, plastic and plastic products, fabrics etc.