The biggest Lankan trade, tourism and investment exposition in history successfully concluded on Sunday 17 November at Battaramulla, with $ 01 Bn in international business partnerships. “The event appears to be a sell-out. There were more than 242000 visitors that included an unprecedented number of international buyers representing 66 countries -which led to 1428 serious buyer visits, 101 promising B2B meetings” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 20 November in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was speaking with his top officials including Anura Siriwardena, (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), on 20 November acknowledging the final review of the progress of Reflection of Sri Lanka -the integrated tourism, trade, investment and SME exposition -inaugurated on 13 November in Battaramulla. Reflection of Sri Lanka was inaugurated by (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 13 November evening in the presence of a large number of Lankan and international dignitaries as well as media.
The strategic thinking behind “Reflection of Sri Lanka” is to leverage the opportunities provided by CHOGM as a platform to illustrate Sri Lanka’s capacity to easily integrate with global value chains. ‘Reflection’ will also highlight the country’s logistic capabilities, high knowledge base, and its dedication to international compliance standards encasing trade, tourism and investment opportunities in them. This historic Sri Lanka brand push targets no less than the movers and shakers-the international decision & policy makers as well as investment influencers arriving for CHOGM. In fact, many top Lankan brands, vendors and products such as Pure Ceylon Tea (Dilmah, Basilur), IT/BPO (SLASSCOM, PWC), were in prominent display at the site.
This event is an inter-Ministry effort, co-organized by the Ministry of Economic Development, our Ministry the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the EDB functioning under it, and is joined by Sri Lanka Tourism, and the Board of Investment.
According to the Reflection of Sri Lanka performance report, there were The 242,176 visitors included an unprecedented number of international buyers representing 66 countries -which led to 1428 serious buyer visits, 101 promising B2B meetings, 195 negotiations for business partnerships leading to 37 confirmed, positive outcomes in 11 sectors- while another 897 event participants were being served by a novel concept called specific Export Industry Seminars that took upon such timely topics as ‘How to Export Under FTAs’.
Of the 1428 serious buyers visiting the event, 566 were trade delegates (including foreign visitors), 247 were online registered buyers, 510 from Business Forum delegates and 105 were new registrants. 101 promising B2B meetings were concluded successfully. 195 negotiations for business partnerships took place of which 37 led to confirmed, positive outcomes in no less than 11 sectoral categories of which the leading categories were ‘diamond, gems and jewellery’ and ‘soft toys & accessories’. 897 participants were given the opportunity to take part in a novel concept called Export Industry Seminars which focused on timely and very specific themes such as aquaculture development, bilateral technology cooperation, greener coconut production and exporting under FTAs.
Of the international visitors from 66 countries, business and investment delegations from China (04 delegations), Italy (1), South Africa(1), UAE(1), Iran(1), met Hon Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at the Reflection venue and were enlightened of the many pathways to partner with Sri Lanka.
The Chinese, Italian, and South African delegations were afforded special factory visits upon their requests by Reflection organisers. Among the many factories visited were tea, construction, paint, rubber, cables, seafood, and fruits & vegetable processing. 49 international journalists from Canada, Dubai, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, U.K., France, Saudi Arabia, India, Philippines, U.A.E, Pakistan, Japan and China visited the exhibition covering the opening ceremony, took comprehensive walk-throughs of the site and met Hon. Minister Industry & Commerce, Secretary Ministry of Industry and Commerce, DG Commerce, EDB Chairman, DG and with EDB officials at a briefing on 14 November. Hon Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa too, personally briefed international Journalists from Japan, India, New Zealand, and Australia. This large scale event was an inter-Ministry effort, co-organized by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the EDB functioning under it, and is joined by Sri Lanka Tourism, the Board of Investment and the Gem and Jewellery Authority.
The success of the event illustrated by its visitor composition alone is strong proof of confidence of international trade, investment and business communities on Sri Lanka’s new growth towards an upper middle income market economy.
The mini-BoI one stop shop at the venue recorded almost 4500 inquiries of which about 500 were from international business visitors. “Our stall has been well attended from the start. We have sector specific BoI specialist attending every serious inquiry immediately” said Jagath De Silva (BoI Senior Deputy Director-Media & Publicity). “There were many investment inquiries and among them, four large-scale investment inquiries positively stand out. The Spanish BoI wants to bring a strong investment delegation to Colombo for automobiles, machinery tools, and light engineering, A Canadian inquiry for an automated car park in Colombo, Iranian investment inquiry on fertiliser plant, Chinese investor inquiry to set up a steel construction material supply plant in Hambanthota” added De Silva.
Also inside Reflection was an expo within an expo- the China Engineering and Technology Expo event by China International Contractors’ Association, (CHINCA)China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Chinese government officials, officials of Chinese Embassy in Colombo, and China Machinery Engineering Corporation. The CMEC stall, spanning 1300 Sq Ft, showcases 50 Chinese enterprises-including many businesses across many sectors including engineering contractors and engineering equipment manufacturers too.