The Government of Vietnam, while unravelling Lankan investment volumes within its borders, signalled on 22 August of its own investment push towards Sri Lanka-and coming from its high levels. “Already 10 Sri Lankan investment projects are in Vietnam. Vietnam investors and businesses too are eager to go out of the country and invest.
I hope the Government of Sri Lanka would create an enabling environment for Vietnamese business and investors” said a keen Pham Binh Minh (the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam) on 21 August in Hanoi.
Deputy PM Binh Minh was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on the afternoon of 21 August at Hanoi’s Foreign Ministry offices located at Ba Dinh. Minister Bathiudeen and his official delegation were making a courtesy call on Deputy PM Binh Minh on the afternoon of 21 August. Joining Minister Bathiudeen at the meeting were RDS Kumararatne (DG-Department of Commerce), Bandula Egodage (Chairman & CEO-EDB) and Ivan Amarasinghe (Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Vietnam).
“Congratulations on your delegation’s successful visit to Vietnam. I have been informed that the Joint Trade Sub Committee between the two countries is now a reality” said an upbeat Deputy PM Binh Minh, and added:
“Formal relations between our two countries go a long way back to July 1970. Since then we have been able to maintain regular bilateral diplomatic contacts at higher levels. Our modest bilateral trade is now expected to increase to $1B by 2015/’16. It is clear the our current trade levels are far below its real potentials. The responsibility to meet this target now lies with you-Minister Bathiudeen, and on our side, our own Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam. In this background I am glad the Sub Committee has been set up. I really hope and keen that we can buy more products from Sri Lanka. I believe that to increase trade and investment, it is time that both countries make bigger progress on the existing double taxation avoidance and bilateral investment treaties. More importantly, I am pleased to say that there are already 10 Sri Lankan investment projects in Vietnam at a cumulative investment level of $ 14 Mn. Vietnam investors and businesses on the other hand, are eager to go out of the country and invest. I am positive that the Government of Sri Lanka would create an enabling environment for Vietnamese business and investors! We look forward to B2B level exchanges. We also look for cooperation on agro sector, a key sector for our economy as well as society, as well as tea sector of Sri Lanka since Sri Lanka being a major tea producer and exporter.”
At present Vietnam ranks as the 40th export destination and the 23rd supplier, accounting for 0.43% of our total exports and 1.06% of our total imports respectively. The total trade between both countries which stood at US dollars 119.5 Million in 2012 increased to US dollars 224.4 Million in 2013 registering a remarkable growth of 88%. Since 2011, Petrovietnam Oil Corporation (PVOil) has supplied to its Sri Lankan partner with petroleum products. In the field of industry, the two countries have concluded a number of important documents, creating a legal framework for further enhanced cooperation activities.
Responding to Deputy PM Binh Minh, Minister Bathiudeen said: “I thank Your Excellency’s interest to enhance trade and investment cooperation with Sri Lanka. In fact, we extend a warm welcome to Vietnamese investors to enter Sri Lanka and yes, our government is ready and extend its fullest support to Vietnamese investors entering to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka allows 100% ownership to foreign investors’ capital, total profit repatriation and constitutional guarantee for their capital. Sri Lanka’s rubber, light electronics and tourism are sectors of investments that could serve the Vietnamese investors profitably. Our FTAs with India and Pakistan gives access to prospective Vietnamese investors more than 1.2 Bn ready market. We also seek tech know how for agro sector and your investments and technology could be leveraged by our agro sector as well. I totally agree that the time has come for business to business level cooperation between the two countries. We are the globally reputed Pure Ceylon Tea brand and I am happy we got Vietnam market’s attention as well. We also welcome your support our fishery and aquaculture.”
Deputy PM Binh Minh said: “I stress that Vietnam has good expertise in Fisheries and aquaculture, and we are happy to extend our support to enhance your fisheries as well. I shall speak to Vietnamese Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture about supporting your fisheries.”
Responding, Minister Bathiudeen said: “We thank you for taking the initiative to contact your colleague Minister of Fishery and Aquaculture on our behalf. These new avenues of cooperation further strengthens our historic friendship.”
Both Minister Bathiudeen and Deputy PM Binh Minh stressed of the need for continued dialogues between Sri Lanka and Vietnam.