Bulgarian President seeks increased bilateral trade, tourism and multifaceted cooperation with Sri Lanka
Daily FT: Conveying greetings and best wishes from President Ranil Wickremesinghe to President Radev, Ambassador Semasinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s readiness to revitalize the bilateral engagement and discussed a new roadmap for increasing cooperation in the ICT, agriculture, labor, education, tourism and manufacturing sectors, where prospects for mutual benefit were promising. She outlined the opportunities for Bulgarian investors and businesses as Sri Lanka continued to emerge as an important logistics hub in the Indian Ocean region and its economy became more competitive through the Government’s structural and digital reforms program, with focus on modernizing agriculture and upscaling the tourism sector.
President Radev welcomed the accreditation of Sri Lanka’s envoy as a timely impetus to reactivate bilateral ties and proposed increasing engagement at the political, institutional, people-to -people (tourism and education) and business-to-business levels to add value to the over six-decade long relationship. Recalling the emerging economic stature of Asia, and recognizing Sri Lanka’s strategic commercial importance in that context, he shared Bulgaria’s interest in expanding relations with Sri Lanka. He assured Bulgaria’s goodwill and ready support to transform the bilateral engagement into a productive multifaceted partnership. President Radev expressed keen interest in having Sri Lankan niche products and cuisine made available to the Bulgarian people. He was surprised and delighted, when Ambassador Semasinghe shared details of the already established Sri Lankan health-food store “Ceylon Spice” and the Sri Lankan restaurant “rCurry- Sri Lankan Cuisine” in the heart of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city.
Bulgarian President’s Foreign Policy Secretary, Roussi Ivanov and Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister (career diplomat), Tihomir Stoytchev, attended the meeting.
In keeping with Bulgarian diplomatic practice, the formal ceremony was preceded by the presentation of copies of Letters of Credence and Recall by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador-designate to Deputy Foreign Minister Tihomir Stoytchev at the Foreign Ministry, followed by a meeting.
During her official visit, Ambassador Semasinghe had meetings with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Tsvetan Simeonov, the Sri Lankan niche products boutique “Ceylon Spice” proprietor, Piyatissa Perera and the Sri Lankan restaurant, “rCurry-Sri Lankan Cuisine” proprietor and team.
Ambassador Semasinghe is a career diplomat with 27 years of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic experience, having served in different capacities in the political, economic and multilateral sections of the Foreign Ministry and abroad, in Sri Lanka Missions in New York, Washington, DC and New Delhi.
Ambassador Semasinghe, who hails from Thimbiriyawa in the Nikaweratiya Pradeshiya Sabha in Sri Lanka’s North Western Province, began her undergraduate studies at the Peradeniya University and, completed the BA degree in International Relations and Public Policy at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA. She has a Master’s in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Washington DC, USA.
Sri Lanka’s path towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region and the ongoing economic activities have opened up a host of new business/investment opportunities in the country. The country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by Sri Lanka have also supported the ongoing economic activities. Local authorities are also focused on expanding the key revenue generators of the country while also attracting foreign direct investments to the country. Export, trade, tourism and investments are a few key areas that have seen expansion and opportunities. Sri Lanka’s increasing growth and business potential have resulted in increasing interest shown by foreign businesses/investors in the country. Given the strength, growth and resilience shown by Sri Lanka’s private sector even amidst challenging economic conditions, foreign businesses could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses with the aim of further expansion. Also, foreign businesses interested in doing business in the South Asian region could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with other countries in the region using the preferential treatment enjoyed by the island.
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