Sri Lanka Industry

The industry is dominated by the manufacture of lighter consumer goods, mainly clothing and other textiles and food. Clothing is Sri Lanka’s most important export product.

Other industries manufacture chemicals and plastics and rubber products. There is also a tobacco industry and cement production companies.

Almost one third of the labor force is found in the industrial sector if mining and construction are included.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the state supported the domestic industry through protection tariffs against imports and with governmental efforts to build up industries. Until the 1990s, virtually all heavy industry was state-owned.

During the 1990s, most of these companies were privatized. In some cases, it was difficult to find buyers and in 2010, the Rajapaksa government decided to stop privatization. In some cases, the state bought back privatized companies. It happened, for example, with the airline Sri Lanka Airlines. After 2015, the Sirisena government has tried to sell several state-owned companies, but almost without success.

Most factories are located in the metropolitan area.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Sri Lanka. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

Sri Lanka



The country opens up again

June 28

The nationwide closure of the community due to the corona pandemic is abolished. The whole of Sri Lanka was quarantined on March 20 and thereafter the restrictions were gradually abolished. In May, the country was forced to reintroduce some restrictions when a second outbreak of the coronavirus was detected after Lankeses who worked in the Middle East flew home. The country’s airspace and waters are still closed to foreign nationals. International air services to and from Sri Lanka are also stopped. Sri Lanka has had 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and eleven confirmed deaths in covid-19.

Parliamentary elections in August

June 10th

The parliamentary elections will be held on August 5, the election authority announces. As a result, the election has been postponed just over three months from the original election date on April 25. The reason for postponing the election is the coronary pandemic.


Muslims must be cremated

May 11

Muslims protest a new rule that makes it mandatory to cremate people who have died in covid-19. It violates the tradition that Muslims should be buried. Assessors warn that Islamophobia is increasing in the country.


Rescue package from the World Bank

2 April

The World Bank presents a rescue package of $ 1.9 billion to be distributed among 25 developing countries. The money is a contribution to the fight against the corona pandemic. $ 129 million goes to Sri Lanka.


Death sentence officer is pardoned

March 26

President Rajapaksa pardons and releases Army officer Sunil Ratnayake who was sentenced to death for a massacre of eight civilian Tamils, including four children, during the civil war. The victims had their throats cut off in December 2000 when they returned to their bombed-out homes on the Jaffna Peninsula in search of belongings. Amnesty International condemns the pardon and the release.

Curfew and set choice

March 20

The government is making a series of decisions to try to curb the spread of the new corona virus, which has caused a pandemic. The parliamentary elections that would have been held in April were postponed until further notice. All international airports are closed and curbs are imposed to prevent the spread of infection. When the decision is made, Sri Lanka has 53 confirmed cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Outbreak from UNP

March 2

The opposition party UNP suffers from internal fragmentation. The party’s 2019 presidential candidate, Premadasa, will form the new party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) together with a group of other outbreaks. Premadasa was the Vice Party Chairman of the UNP and failed to compete with Ranil Wickremesinghe from the party leader post he held since 1994.

Parliamentary elections in April

March 2

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announces parliamentary elections on April 25, 2020. In this connection, the sitting parliament will be dissolved, in accordance with the constitution. Rajapaksa is leading a minority government and must negotiate for support in Parliament when making decisions. In the elections, Rajapaksa hopes to get enough support in Parliament to form a majority government.


Sri Lanka withdraws support for UN resolution

February 26th

The Rajapaksa government is withdrawing Sri Lanka’s support for the UN resolution of 2015 which says that suspected war crimes at the end of the civil war in 2009 will be investigated. The resolution was supported by the former Sirisena government, while the Rajapaksa brothers strongly opposed the investigation. Both had prominent roles when the final offensive was implemented: Prime Minister Mahinda was then President and President Gotabaya was Minister of Defense.

The army chief is refused entry to the United States

February 13

The United States announces that Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Shavendra Silva may not visit the country because of what the United States calls credible evidence that he pled guilty to human rights violations during the end of the Civil War in 2009 (see August 2019).

The national anthem in Tamil is excluded

February 4th

When Independence Day is celebrated, the Tamil-language version of the national anthem, which is customary, is not performed. In the country, both Sinhalese and Tamil are official languages. The event draws a lot of attention when the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in command of the government forces that in May 2009 defeated the Tamil guerrilla LTTE in the civil war between Sinhalese and Tamils.


Death declarations of war victims should be accelerated

January 20th

President Rajapaksa admits for the first time that more than 23,500 people who have disappeared since the end of the war in May 2009 are dead. Of these, about 5,000 were soldiers or military police, while the majority were civilians recruited by the Tamil LTTE guerrilla. Rajapaksa says that the process of issuing death certificates should be accelerated. According to international human rights groups, at least 40,000 civilians were killed at the end of the war. A government-appointed commission, established in August 2013, has received nearly 23,600 reports of missing persons throughout the 1983–2009 wartime.

Three UNP members arrested

January 4th

Ranjan Ramanayake, MP for the opposition UNP, is arrested for suspected illegal weapons possession. Ramanayake himself claims that the government is in this way trying to silence his criticism of the corruption among the rulers. He is the third UNP member to be arrested by the police since mid-December 2019. Former Minister Patali Ranawaka was arrested on December 18 in connection with a traffic accident, and Rajitha Senaratne, also former minister, was arrested on December 27 for violating the electoral teams when he held a press conference ahead of the November 16 elections. All three politicians are sharp critics of the Rajapakas brothers.

Sri Lanka Industry

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