|Sri Lanka seeks closer economic integration|
|Tuesday, 13 January 2009|
Source: The PENINSULA/ By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: Sri Lanka’s visiting Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has invited businessmen from the Middle East to invest in his country for greater economic integration.
“There is much potential to invest in infrastructure development, petroleum and petroleum-related products, electronics, textiles, banking and the service sector in Sri Lanka,” Bogollagama said while making a presentation on the Middle East region as a partner for Sri Lanka’s economic development, at the Mariott Hotel on Sunday.
Sri Lanka, with a liberal investment climate, a central location, skilled labour force and fast-developing infrastructure, provides key advantages to investors.
The country’s economy has been performing remarkably well in the past few years. Sri Lanka has been achieving record economic growth during the past five years. The country’s unchangeable open economy is favourable for investors, said Bogollagama.
“Sri Lanka’s inaugural bond issue was oversubscribed by more than three times, reflecting the confidence of global investors in the Sri Lankan economy,” he said.
The prevailing political situation in Sri Lanka, especially the government’s successive military operations to abolish terrorism and overcoming the three-decade challenge for the democratic system, is also a favourable background for new investments.
“We are confident that very soon we will rid the menace of terrorism from our country and restore peace and security and the country could advance its economic and trade interests both within the country and outside,” Bogollagama said.
He said Sri Lanka was also looking for more possibilities in non-traditional exports to the Middle East, such as gems and jewellery, apparel and kitchenware. Colombo is ready to provide gem cutting, jewellery making, gemmology and heat treatment services for the Middle East market, he added.
However, tea will remain the country’s single largest export to the region, accounting for 75 percent of total exports in 2007.
“We have also asked for the removal of all restrictions on our tea exports to the Middle East to ensure a constant supply of good quality Sri Lankan tea. Sri Lanka’s potential as lucrative investment destination remains similarly under-exploited by the emerging Middle Eastern markets,” he said.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 August 2009 )|
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