Our relationship with Sri Lanka

New Zealand and Sri Lanka have a longstanding friendly relationship. New Zealand and Sri Lanka have committed to establishing reciprocal high commissions in the coming years. We also enjoy strong rivalry on the cricket pitch, and we’re making more sporting connections through rugby, which is growing in popularity in Sri Lanka. There are more than 7,000 Sri Lankans living in New Zealand.


2017 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$463 million


Exports to Sri Lanka

$402 million 

Top exports: milk powder, butter and dairy spreads, apples, pears, and quinces

Imports from Sri Lanka

$61 million

Top imports: tea, clothing, retreaded or used pneumatic rubber tyres, rubber


US$87 billion

GDP per capita US$13,186  
GDP growth  3.3%  

Trade between our two countries is increasing, mainly because of a growing demand for milk powder in Sri Lanka. New Zealand exports to Sri Lanka increased from $117 million in 2000 to $402 million in 2017.


New Zealand does not have a direct aid programme in Sri Lanka, but the New Zealand Government provides funds to the United Nations and partner NGOs working in Sri Lanka.

There are opportunities for New Zealand NGOs to apply for funding from New Zealand’s Aid Programme’s Partnerships Fund, which focuses on sustainable economic development initiatives. 

Find out more about the Partnerships Fund

Sri Lankans can apply for Commonwealth Scholarships, for postgraduate study in New Zealand universities.

Find out about Commonwealth Scholarships


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Sri Lanka
  • 2016: Prime Minister Key visited Sri Lanka accompanied by a large business delegation.
  • 2014: Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy visited Sri Lanka to promote New Zealand’s co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully visited Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
  • 2013: Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully visited Sri Lanka twice (June and August) to discuss a range of issues including bilateral trade and preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting
  • 2012: Minister for Primary Industries David Carter visited Sri Lanka to discuss the bilateral economic relationship
Sri Lanka to New Zealand
  • 2016: Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited New Zealand accompanied by four ministers and a business delegation.
  • 2015: Minister for Tourism and Sports Dissanayake visited New Zealand for the opening of the Cricket World Cup. Minister Dissanayake was the first Minister from the new Sri Lankan government to visit New Zealand
  • 2014: Minister of External Affairs Peiris visited New Zealand, the first ever visit by a Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister to New Zealand.

News & Events

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Find out more about the current outbreak of measles in New Zealand.