Local News Update: A team of experts from the Gulf Cooperation Council Standardization Organisation (GSO), the body, which is responsible for the formulation of product standards for all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Yemen), visited Sri Lanka from 18-21 November 2019 for an awareness creation program at the initiative of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Saudi Arabia and the Department of Commerce, Colombo. The program was co-hosted by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and the SriLankan Airlines.
The collective initiative was specifically for the purpose of assisting the Sri Lankan export community to have a better understanding of the product standards and the conformity assessment procedures applied by the member states of the GCC.
The overall value of Sri Lanka’s exports to GCC countries in 2018 had reached US$ 444.21 million and this registers a growth of 2.3% over 2017. The main products exported to the GCC market include Tea, Apparel, Bananas, Coconut milk powder and New pneumatic tyres, Sweet biscuits. Among the GCC countries, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar stand out as the major trading partners of Sri Lanka accounting for 65%, 16%, 6.1% and 5.9% respectively of Sri Lanka’s exports.
The awareness program consisted of a full-day seminar on GCC Product Standards, one-to-one meetings/visits with the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI), Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) and National Plant Quarantine Service, visits to SLSI and SLTB laboratories and testing facilities, and a visit to Lucky Tea Factory in Galle. The full-day seminar on GCC Product Standards was jointly organized by the Department of Commerce and Sri Lanka Export Development Board on 20 November 2019 which was attended by a large number of Sri Lankan exporters and relevant Government institutions.