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Lanka’s top global FDI partner in yet another $ 1 b rollout

2014-10-28

Lanka’s top global FDI partner in yet another $ 1 b rollout

Sri Lanka’s largest global FDI partner Malaysia is mulling a new wave of incremental FDI totalling $ 1 b with an emphasis on SMEs.
It will become one of the largest-ever Private Public Partnership (PPP) ventures in Sri Lankan SMEs and the entry of biggest SME financier in Malaysia to Sri Lanka is the first step in their South Asian leap.

“We are thinking of another $ 1 billion portfolio in Sri Lanka in addition to the current investment portfolio here by EXIM Bank of Malaysia. SMEs are the priority sector in this new $ 1 b rollout while other sectors are also being mapped,” said Syed Zed Al Qudsy, President of SME Factors, Jalan, Malaysia on 15 October, addressing Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at the EDB Building in Colombo.

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US-SL trade talks conclude in Colombo

2014-10-16

US-SL trade talks conclude in Colombo

Talks under the Sri Lanka and US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) concluded yesterday in Colombo, reiterating the commitment to foster greater bilateral economic engagement.
“The US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is the premier dialogue for managing bilateral trade and investment relationship between both countries. This relationship amounts to $ 3 b” said Michael Delaney, the visiting Assistant United States Trade Representative for Central and South Asia yesterday in Colombo.

Delaney, who is leading a 10-member official delegation to Sri Lanka, was addressing the 11th Joint Council Meeting (JCM) under the US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) at the Taj Samudra, Colombo.

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Matching global construction standards vital for country’s progress: Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

2014-10-04

Matching global construction standards vital for country’s progress: Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

Sri Lanka’s surging construction sector is not only an indicator of economic health, but also an integrator of an important economic layer, meaning that following international standards in the construction sector could help the country’s ‘Hub Status’ journey, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said yesterday.

“The construction sector claims only 7.3% of our GDP. However, the sector is much more important than these numbers would indicate. There is a strong SME presence in this sub-sector,” the minister expressed.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration ceremony of the International Exhibition on Windows and Doors, Aluminium Extrusion, Roofing and Façade, Glass and the 2nd International Exhibition on Sri Lanka Wood at BMICH.

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Top corporates in Lanka’s first industrial energy push

2014-09-29

Top corporates in Lanka’s first industrial energy push

Several top Lankan manufacturing firms have been enlisted in the first ever industrial energy initiative as announced on 25 September. As a result of the success, a second manufacturing energy initiative is now being mulled. And, Ceylon Electricity Board is slowly ‘getting off’ from expensive oil powered generation!

Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka Rishad Bathiudeen (third from left) inaugurates 12th POWER Sri Lanka 2014 International Expo at Sri Lanka Exhibition and Conventions Centre, Colombo joined by (from left): CEMS Sri Lanka CEO Sarwar, Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau Chairman Nihal Rupasinghe, CEMS Global Asia Pacific Group CEO S.S. Sarwar, EDB Chairman & CEO Bandula Egodage and Ceylon Electricity Board Vice Chairman Professor Kapila Perera on 25 September

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Sri Lanka showcases SME drive at UN’s Export Forum

2014-09-25

Sri Lanka showcases SME drive at UN’s Export Forum

A well-known Sri Lankan tea brand received the keen attention of global export experts at the UN’s latest 2014 World Export Development Forum in Rwanda, while the role of Sri Lanka’s apex export body, the EDB, in enhancing SME exports was also revealed to global experts.

“Several Lankan brands play an important part in Sri Lanka’s exports success. Some Lankan brands have been able to compete against larger brands from multinational companies,” said EDB Chairman and CEO Bandula Egodage , taking part in the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) on 16 September in Kigali, Rwanda.

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Sri Lanka starts work on global consumer compliance

2014-09-21

Sri Lanka starts work on global consumer compliance

Sri Lanka has begun compliance work on the global consumer end of its exports basket on 18 September. And no less than two top experts from Geneva’s WTO are in town to facilitate the pioneering effort.

“Today, more countries around the world continue to reduce their border tariffs, either unilaterally or through an increasing number of free trade agreements, called as RTAs-Regional Trade Agreements. Non-tariff barriers such as SPS and TBT measures have begun to create a significant impact on international trade. Unfortunately, most of these measures appear to be highly complex and increasingly challenging” said Anura Siriwardene (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) on 18 September in Colombo.

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Sri Lanka-China FTA deal during Chinese President’s visit next month

2014-09-16

Sri Lanka-China FTA deal during Chinese President’s visit next month

Sri Lanka will be launching its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China making the biggest leap forward in relations between the two countries in more than 60 years, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the island next month, official sources revealed.

Mr. Xi will be accompanied by a 150-member top level delegation including senior officials, billionaire businessmen industrialists and investors.

The Chinese leader will become the first President to visit Sri Lanka since former leader Li Xiannian in 1986. His visit assumes significance in strengthening ties between the two countries, with China investing heavily in the island nation, the sources said. The joint feasibility study on the FTA has been finalised and negotiations on formulating the agreement including the negative list are underway between officials of the departments of commerce between the two countries, a senior government official told Business Times.

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EDB starts first ever medical tourism push

2014-09-15

EDB starts first ever medical tourism push

“Professional service exports present a tremendous opportunity and can speed up government’s ‘$20B exports by 2020’ goal. Medical Tourism is one of the most promising sub-sectors in this. We are ready to work with any and all stakeholders to get this off the ground” said Director General, EDB, Sujatha Weerakoone addressing the kick-off session of EDB's 2015-20 National Masterplan Initiative on Medical Tourism held at EDB last week.

The pioneering session saw top reps from Hemas Hospitals, Asiri Group of Hospitals, Lanka Hospitals, Durdans Hospital, Nawaloka Hospitals PLC, the Health Ministry as well as M.K.S.K Maldeniya (ICT Sector Director-EDB) joining the session. The private sector reps also represent Sri Lanka’s Private Hospital Association (PHA).

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First ever business delegation from Finland due in December

2014-09-10

First ever business delegation from Finland due in December

LThe first-ever high level trade and business delegation to Sri Lanka from the world’s ICT leader is now mulled for early December. “I have been able to encourage my Government to renew trade cooperation with Sri Lanka. I have been highly encouraged by the rapid development seen in Sri Lanka. The first-ever Finnish business and investment delegation is now being scheduled for the first week of December 2014,” announced Finland’s Roving Ambassador for Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka Rauli Suikkanen on 4 September in Colombo.

Suikkanen was addressing Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen during a courtesy call on Bathiudeen. Also present was EDB Chairman and CEO Bandula Egodage .

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Sri Lanka's bilateral trade with Israel surges 178% since trade pact in 2007

2014-09-08

Sri Lanka's bilateral trade with Israel surges 178% since trade pact in 2007

Sri Lanka's bilateral trade with Israel has surged by 178% since a trade pact signed in 2007, signaling even closer B2B links between the two countries, a press release issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

"We have a history of bilateral trade and business cooperation with the State of Israel. This time we took about 40 leading businessmen to Israel from Sri Lanka and completed a successful Business Forum", Sarath Wijesinghe, Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Israel said Friday at a business review meeting in Colombo.

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‘Our trade future looks good!’: Seychelles

2014-09-03

‘Our trade future looks good!’: Seychelles

Enhanced trade cooperation cemented by a new Joint Trade Committee will open Sri Lanka’s anticipated trade volumes with Africa said Seychelles on 27 August. Lankan exports to Africa’s top blue economy as well as transit passenger volumes to Colombo is now on the increase as a result of recent air connectivity.

“The prospective Joint Trade Committee between Sri Lanka and Seychelles will be Sri Lanka’s platform for accessing the huge African market. Almost all the issues regarding quarantine of certain exports have now been resolved and all requirements met! As a result we are now receiving loads of more Lankan fresh fruits and vegetables than before,” said an upbeat Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment of Seychelles Pierre Laporte in Colombo.

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World Export Development Forum 2014 to be held in Africa for the first time

2014-08-31

World Export Development Forum 2014 to be held in Africa for the first time

The World Export Development Forum (WEDF), a flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC), is bringing its 14th edition to Africa, with a dedicated focus on entrepreneurs.

Dedicated to supporting trade-led inclusive and sustainable development, the forum will be held in Africa for the first time, and is slated to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 16-17 September, under the theme SMEs: Creating jobs through trade.

Besides, participants at the 14th World Export Development Forum (WEDF) will have the opportunity to hear expert views from entrepreneurs, policymakers and representatives of trade support institutions on how both new technology and traditional sectors can help promote growth.

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Lankan biz throng first Seychelles forum in Colombo

2014-08-27

Lankan biz throng first Seychelles forum in Colombo

No less than 130 reps from 125 Lankan firms thronged the first bilateral B2B call between Sri Lanka and Seychelles biz ever to be held in Colombo on 27 August. “Today’s event can be a stepping stone for more bilateral trade between both countries, which is an urgent need at this moment. The total bilateral trade has been low at only $3.7 Mn. Today’s initiative therefore is a major step in this direction” said Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 27 August in Colombo.

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High level ‘Nam push for Lanka investments

2014-08-25

High level ‘Nam push for Lanka investments

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.

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Historic Lanka-Vietnam trade link established in Hanoi

2014-08-22

Historic Lanka-Vietnam trade link established in Hanoi

The first ever Sri Lanka Vietnam official trade mechanism went live in Hanoi on 21 August. And the new mechanism, according to the Vietnamese side, is the practical way for bigger trade cooperation in the form of an Agreement.

“Today’s new beginning will open many new opportunities for both countries. I am fully convinced that setting up of a Joint Working Group (JWG) or Joint Trade Sub Committee, would lay a concrete foundation to enhance the existing bilateral trade and economic relations new heights. My Ministry would closely monitor the progress” said n Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) at the Head Quarters of Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Hanoi on 21 August.

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First hand Syrian account reveals Lanka a destination beyond Gulf

2014-08-18

First hand Syrian account reveals Lanka a destination beyond Gulf

For the first time, Syrian investors' view on trading and investing in Sri Lanka has been revealed in a first-hand account on 13 August in Colombo. And the cash rich Syrians want to set up active projects first, rather than sending a stream of hot funds.

“As countries, Gulf economies are richer than Syria but when it comes to individual countries’ private capital volumes, everyone knows that Syrians are way ahead and much more liquid than private capital in Gulf region. The main issue now is that the Syrian industrial community is on the lookout for an investment hub due to the current unrest in Syria. There are a few keen big investors who are studying Sri Lanka closely” said an upbeat Dr Mhd. Moussallam Al Droubi (CEO of Al Droubi Group and the Hon Consul of Sri Lanka in Damascus, Syria) on 13 August in Colombo.

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India has the most balanced trade with Sri Lanka: Sinha

2014-08-15

India has the most balanced trade with Sri Lanka: Sinha

When it comes to global trade parities of the world’s 10th largest economy, the most balanced trade it conducts is with Sri Lanka, India claimed yesterday.

“India has the most balanced trade with Sri Lanka among its major trade partners. Both sides are involved in continuing discussions to take economic engagement to the next level,” said Indian High Commi-ssioner in Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha yesterday.

Sinha was addressing the singular inauguration event of two expos on 14 August – the second edition of Sri Lanka Plast and the first edition of RUBEXPO at the BMICH. Also taking part were Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Secretary Anura Siriwardene, EDB CEO Bandula Egodage and EDB DG Sujatha Weerakoone.

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Exhibitions will put Sri Lanka on the map swiftly: Swaminathan

2014-08-13

Exhibitions will put Sri Lanka on the map swiftly: Swaminathan

Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL), together with Enterprising Fair India will conduct the 2nd edition of SRILANKA PLAST – a Plastics Expo and the 1st Edition of RUBEXPO – a Rubber Expo on 14, 15 and 16 August 2014 at BMICH, Colombo. Below are the excerpts of an interview conducted with Enterprising Fairs India Ltd Managing Director B. Swaminathan in light of the exhibition.

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Trade talks for first TA with surging ‘Nam on the cards

2014-08-08

Trade talks for first TA with surging ‘Nam on the cards

As YoY bilateral trade jumped by a huge 88%, possibility of a first ever official trade agreement with one of the most discerning Asian suppliers to Sri Lanka has edged closer to reality on 07 August. “Our record exports today at $130 Bn was strongly supported by the seven FTAs that we entered into. An FTA with Sri Lanka can boost bilateral trade specially for Sri Lankan exporters. We should consider at least a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)” said an upbeat (HE) Ton Sinh Thanh (the outgoing Ambassador Plenipotentiary & Extraordinary of Viet Nam to Sri Lanka) on 07 June in Colombo.

Ambassador Thanh was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 07 August in Colombo during his farewell courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen. Ambassador Thanh, who served a successful three year stint in Colombo is scheduled for New Delhi next. Joining Minister Bathiudeen on 07 August were RDS Kumararatne (DG-Department of Commerce) and Bandula Egodage (Chairman/CEO-EDB).

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Geographical Indication for Ceylon cinnamon soon

2014-08-04

Geographical Indication for Ceylon cinnamon soon

In response to a longstanding cry by the spices and allied exporters, action is now underway to obtain the Geographical Indication (GI) for Ceylon cinnamon and other allied products of which the geographical origin and its possessed qualities will be identified with a unique sign in the international market place.

Among other local authorities, the World Trade Organization (WTO), one of the protectors of GIs at international level has already agreed to assist Sri Lanka in providing technical support and a common front for commodities has expressed its willingness to fund the project. “The ministry and the National Intellectual Property office of Sri Lanka are directly involved with this operation with the Export Development Board (EDB) with the assistance of Spices and Allied Products Producers’ and Traders’ Association (SAPPTA),” said the Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena addressing SAPPTA’s 30th annual general meeting.

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