The design process of the National Export Strategy was successfully inaugurated on the 6th April 2017 at the 1st National Export Strategy Symposium. The symposium was held in Colombo with more than 140 participants from the private and public sectors attended to chart the next export growth cycle of the country. The inauguration was graced by the Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, 6 Ministers and 20 Development Partners. The development of an NES is a central component of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance project. As such, ITC facilitated two group sessions on the first day of the symposium. One of these sessions pertained to the revision and confirmation of key national issues that were seen to be limiting export performance. A working vision statement for the NES, “Sri Lanka – An Export Hub driven by Innovation and Investment”, was defined during the workshop.The second day of the symposium featured the ITC in the facilitation of three more group sessions. The first group session enabled the NES to be guided by the shortlisting of strategic objectives. These objectives are : To have a business-enabling, predictable and transparent policy and regulatory framework; To drive export diversification through innovation and the strengthening of emerging export sectors; To strengthen Sri Lankan exporters’ market-entry and compliance capacities; To become an efficient trade and logistics hub to facilitate exports. Based on the objectives set out on the first group session and aided by quantitative and qualitative information, the public and private stakeholders were enabled to shortlist focus sectors. The stakeholders also shortlisted 4 trade support functions that will be the focus of the NES design. The shortlisting of focus sectors and trade support functions guided the elaboration of a position paper “The business case for developing Sri Lanka’s National Export Strategy (NES)” that was submitted to the NES Core Team and the Government of Sri Lanka. The first NES symposium was widely covered in the media and was further outlined by the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama highlighting in a newspaper column the importance of the NES to Sri Lanka’s ambition to be the next economic success story in Asia.