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Political Relations
Sri Lanka's relations with the European Community commenced in 1962. The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels was set up in 1973, and was accredited to the EU. Dr.Gamini Corea was the first Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the European Community. Having previously been accredited from New Delhi, the European Commission established its Delegation Office in Colombo in September 1995.

In March 2001, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga visited Brussels and met with Mr. Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission. This was the first high-level visit to Brussels.

Ministerial level visits from Brussels include Mr. Chris Pattern, European Commissioner for External Relations in November 2003 and Ms. Benita Ferraro-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations in March 2005.

The South Asia Delegation of the European Parliament and the Friends of Sri Lanka Group in the EU Parliament frequently visit Sri Lanka.

H.E Mr. Rodney Perera, the Ambassador presented his letter of Credence to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, on 13 October 2014. He succeeded H.E Mr. P.M








An Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation was signed on 22nd July 1975. Presently, the relations between Sri Lanka and the European Union are governed by a subsequent third generation agreement, 'Co-operation Agreement on Partnership and Development between the European Community and Sri Lanka', which came into force on 1 April 1995.

The EU-SL Joint Commission meets annually. The purpose of the Joint Commission is to ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, to make suitable recommendations to promote the objectives of the Agreement and to examine ways and means to enhance the cooperation in the areas covered by the agreement. The EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade, the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights and the Working Group on Development Co-operation meet annually as working level committees under the provisions of the Joint Commission.

The EU-Sri Lanka Joint Readmission Committee (JRC) meets alternatively in Colombo and Brussels annually, since the signing of the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Readmission Agreement on 4th June 2004. This is the first formal agreement Sri Lanka entered into concerning the combating of illegal immigration. The facilitation of Law Enforcement Cooperation, constitutes an integral part of the agreement and It recognizes the need for the two parties to take measures to combat organized criminal activities, including human trafficking, migrant smuggling and financing for terrorist purposes

Sri Lanka and the European Union signed on 27 September 2012 the Agreement between the European Union and the Government of Sri Lanka on Certain Aspects of Air Services, which is commonly known as the 'Horizontal' Air Services Agreement, at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium.


The European Union (EU) is Sri Lanka’s largest export destination. The following table summarizes the current trends in the trade between Sri Lanka and the EU over the last 5 years.

Sri Lanka’s trade with EU from 2012-2016, (Values US$ Mn)


 Source: Department of Custom Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka Trade with the EU, Trade Balance and Total Trade

As depicted in the following diagram, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and France continue to be the major export destinations for Sri Lanka in EU

Sri Lanka's major Export partners in EU



 Sri Lanka Major Exports to the EU Countries (2016)

 Apparel products and clothing have been Sri Lanka’s major export items to EU which constitute around 61% of total export in 2016.

The Trends in export products to the EU market for the period 2012 to 2016 are shown in the following table.image5

Sri Lanka’s major exports to EU countries (2012-2016) Value US $ Mn.



The Following diagrams show the market share of Major EU suppliers to Sri Lanka


 Sri Lanka’s major Imports from EU countries (2012-16)

Source; Department of Customs Sri Lanka



 Sri Lanka’s Major Imports from EU Countries (Values in US$)

Comparatively the European Union exports machinery products, transport equipment, textiles and chemicals.





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