Magazine article International Trade Forum

A Focal Point Approach to Export Promotion

Magazine article International Trade Forum

A Focal Point Approach to Export Promotion

Article excerpt

The Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka was set up in 1979 by an Act of Parliament as the focal point export promotion organization. At that time the economy was liberalized with the state recognizing the private sector as the "engine of growth". The EDB has both public and private sector high-level representatives and is responsible for formulating and implementing the National Export Development Plan (NEDP), as well as export development policies and programmes.

However, in recent years, the quality of EDB's support services has diminished. Under its leadership, there was inadequate coordination and integration of services provided by specialized institutions to exporters. As a consequence, EDB's image and credibility within the business community was eroded. Vital structural links with other trade support network members became dormant, while financial support from the public sector diminished, as did support from the international donor community. From this experience, several lessons were learned about what is required to achieve an effective focal-point trade promotion organization:

* Administration and structure should have a private sector orientation.

* To the extent possible, self-reliance should be achieved through income-generating professional services. …

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