Sri Lanka was Australia’s 41st largest trading partner in 2017 with total trade worth A$1.4b. Exports of goods and services were worth A$832m in 2017. Merchandise export receipts were made up of vegetables, dairy and wheat were the main exports. Imports from Sri Lanka (A$573m) consisted mostly of textiles and tea.
Service exports to Sri Lanka were worth A$552m and made up largely of education. Though Sri Lankan students studying in Australia account for only 1% of total foreign enrolments, students wishing to study overseas rank Australia as their most popular destination. Monash University, the Australian College of Business and Technology and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offer distance learning programs in Sri Lanka.
Though Sri Lankan tourists account for only 0.4% of total tourist arrivals in Australia, their numbers have grown over 13% annually over the last five years.
Bilateral investment between Sri Lanka and Australia remains small. Australian businesses such as the Australian subsidiary of Finnish company Outotec is involved in the construction of water treatment plants in the Ampara District. Australian aid to Sri Lanka was worth A$31m in FY2018, equivalent to 0.8% of the aid budget. The Australian government has been involved with several aid and development projects in education, sanitation, water and housing