Includes typical use of agents and distributors and how to find a good partner, e.g., whether use of an agent or distributor is legally required.
Last Published: 7/22/2019
Most exporters find using local distributors an easy first step for entering the Sri Lankan market.  Generally, this is the best method to compete successfully, as local firms are well-versed in local business practices.  Many foreign firms select local agents on the basis of financial stability and technical capability.  As the largest trading houses represent many (sometimes competing) foreign principles, medium-sized and smaller firms are becoming more attractive.  If products require stocking, servicing or nationwide distribution, however, large firms are often the better choice.  Sales commissions paid to agents range from 3 percent to 15 percent, depending on sales volume and product price.  Agency relationships can be terminated for inefficiency, misappropriation, or inability to fulfill other conditions stipulated in the agency agreement.  Due diligence on suitability of a potential agent/distributor is essential prior to entering the local market. 

U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Services - International Partner Search (IPS), International Company Profile (ICP), Single Company Promotion and Gold Key Services (GKS) - are available through the U.S. Embassy in Colombo for U.S. companies looking to appoint a local representative in Sri Lanka.  Interested companies should contact the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Centers in their respective state (  The U.S. Commercial Service has a network of export and industry specialists located in more than 100 U.S. cities.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

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Sri Lanka Trade Development and Promotion