AmCham Sri Lanka announces ‘Investment Spotlight’ initiative to woo US FDI and reinvestment.
Daily FT: The AmCham Sri Lanka recently held its 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election of Directors. Despite the challenges of the socio-economic and political conditions faced by the business community over the past year, significantly curtailing usual Chamber activities, the Chamber recorded its highest net surplus yet, for the third consecutive year.
Lakshan Madurasinghe who was re-elected President for his second year, addressing the gathering comprising over 100 member companies noted: “When I took on the prestigious mantle of the AmCham Sri Lanka Presidency last year, I shared with you my belief in partnerships – in my fervent desire and hope that through meaningful collaboration with you our members, key stakeholders, and partners we could reach our goals and make a lasting impact.
“I am proud to state that, through conceptualising and serving activities, engagements, and most importantly B2G, B2B and B2C connections that have supported your businesses despite the multitude of socio-economic and political challenges over these past years, we have done just that.”
Recognising efforts at continuing to drive the vision and mandate of increasing trade relationship and investment between the US and Sri Lanka, Coca-Cola Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan Regional Head of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability Madurasinghe was elected President for his second term by the membership, whilst MAS Holdings Shirendra Lawrence was elected Vice President, Sysco LABS Nilupa Kiringoda was elected Secretary, and NDB Bank Group Dimantha Seneviratna was elected Treasurer.
Speaking about the projects and initiatives in the pipeline for 2022/23, Madurasinghe stated: “As I reflected on the challenging times we face and the journey ahead of us; my mind and thoughts gravitated very strongly to the concept of ‘Responsibility’. I truly believe that we have the responsibility to make a lasting difference in our motherland, Sri Lanka, both individually and collectively.
“Attracting Foreign Direct Investment is vital to bridge the domestic savings-investment gap for a country like Sri Lanka. A net of over $ 3 billion flows into the Sri Lankan economy each year through trade with the US. The US is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, and AmCham Sri Lanka intends to play a pivotal, catalytic role in attracting not only US FDI, but US Reinvestment too.”
He continued: “That is why AmCham SL over the next 24 months in particular will focus our resources, our influence, power, and energy primarily towards driving investments in Sri Lanka as investment promotion is undoubtedly key to our economic recovery and the growth of this nation.”
The Chief Guest at the AmCham AGM 2022 was the Ambassador of the United States of America to Sri Lanka, Julie J. Chung, who made the keynote address.
In her address, the Ambassador lauded the private sector for its advocacy for strengthening the investment and trade climate, and democratic institutions in Sri Lanka, its leadership in entrepreneurship, transparency, good business governance, and strong corporate social responsibility. She commented that now more than ever, the private sector can make a difference in creating a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Addressing the assembly of senior private sector representatives across all industries, Guest of Honour, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe expressed his appreciation toward US businesses operating in Sri Lanka, as well as to the US for its continued support in trade, commerce, and business relations, as well as through continued humanitarian and developmental assistance.
The US has continuously expressed support to boost Sri Lanka’s economy through business and trade cooperation. Sri Lanka also enjoys US GSP trade concessions that have helped boost the country’s exports industry as well. Sri Lanka also figures prominently in US’ Indian Ocean region, especially in the Asia-Pacific regional cooperation given the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean. The many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have also Sri Lanka’s attraction as a trade destination. US businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka given the increasing growth and business potential of the country. The buoyant performance by Sri Lanka’s private sector posting profits despite challenging economic conditions is indicative of the business conducive environment in the country as well as the resilience of the economy. US businesses could therefore also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses. On the other hand, US businesses interested in doing business in the region could also look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with other countries in the region using the preferential treatment received by Sri Lankan businesses in business and trade in the region.
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