Sri Lanka was Australia's 46th largest trading partner in 2016. Merchandise export receipts from Sri Lanka were valued at A$217m, down 30% from a year earlier. Vegetables, dairy and wheat were the main exports. Imports from Sri Lanka were up 5% (A$223m) made up mostly of textiles and tea.
Service exports to Sri Lanka are negligible. Sri Lankan students studying in Australia account for only 1% of total foreign enrolments. Even so, Sri Lankan 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 all 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 12% 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.
Australia contributes 10% of total aid inflows into Sri Lanka. The Australian government has been involved with several aid and development projects in education, sanitation, water and housing.
Remittances are becoming an important source of income and foreign exchange for Sri Lanka—equivalent to 9% of GDP up from 7% in 2008. Money transfers from the Middle-East and the European Union account for over 70% of the total.