Doing business

Current business situation

Australia’s bi-lateral trade and services relationship with Sri Lanka is valued at A$973 million as of 2016. Australian trade and services exports to Sri Lanka are valued at A$571 million as of 2016. Australia ranks as the 17th largest import source country for Sri Lanka.

Major Australian exports to Sri Lanka consist of vegetables, dairy products, wheat and flour, lentils, and paper products. Efforts by Austrade to increase the focus on the Australian premium food and beverage sector by Sri Lankan importers has resulted in a wider range of new products being introduced to the supermarket supply chain in recent years. There are opportunities for increasing Australian trade with Sri Lanka around a number of niche areas.

More information on Australia and Sri Lanka bi-lateral trade relationship is available at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website. 

Austrade’s focus for Sri Lanka consists of the following industry sectors:

  • higher education (including school/corporate engagement, VET and higher education)
  • premium food and beverage
  • agritech (including dairy, sustainable fisheries)
  • smart infrastructure
  • resources and energy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides advice for business travellers and tourists going to Sri Lanka. This is regularly updated, and should be checked before planning travel.

Experiences of Australian companies doing business in Sri Lanka

  1. William Angliss Institute – Supporting Sri Lanka’s growing tourism market
  2. Outotec – Providing clean drinking water to Sri Lanka
  3. Wellard – Building Sri Lanka’s dairy industry

Business culture

Business tips

Business cards are exchanged at both business meetings and social occasions.

Sri Lankans are courteous and hospitable and guests are frequently invited to the homes of business acquaintances – even after the first meeting. Though appointments and meetings may have been confirmed in advance, punctuality is not strictly observed.

Although office attire is formal in Sri Lanka, jackets for men may not be required for business meetings unless the meeting is with a government minister or the chairman of a state institution or private sector company. Dress for most social occasions for both women and men is casual unless formal attire has been specified.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Australian High Commission, Colombo
Board of Investment (BOI)
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

News and media

Daily Mirror

Daily News
Times Online

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.