Business forum highlights opportunities to enhance German investment in Sri Lanka
An economic forum sponsored by AHK, the German Chamber of Business in Colombo hosted Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of State for Investment Promotion. The conference attended by Ambassador of Germany to Sri Lanka Jorn Rohde, Head of Mobility Concepts Division of the German Federal Government, Transport Policy Dr Stefan Hesselman and 27 leading German firms, many of whom are current investors in Sri Lanka working under the BOI policy.
These included prominent German companies such as Allianz Insurance, Hafele, DHL, Deutsche Bank, Mercedes Benz, Siemens, and Continental. The meeting was very noteworthy as it suggested renewed interest on the part of German companies in assessing investment possibilities in Sri Lanka.
One exciting field is the ability to lead German tire maker Continental Tires to increase its current investment in Kalutara in Sri Lanka. This initiative will cause its production to double. The BOI will be supporting the initiative.
The field addressed by the Minister, with considerable potential for the future, is in the tourism sector. TUI Head for Asia’s presence at the meeting also underlined this point. Another significant company present was Hafele which manufactures furniture fittings and enjoys a reputation worldwide for its high design quality. Siemens, the German engineering company, also participated in the conference, expressing interest in the possibilities of pursuing infrastructure-related projects.
Minister Rambukwella said the president wanted a very close relationship with German companies interested in investing in Sri Lanka and asked him to meet with them individually to promote their investment in Sri Lanka.
German companies present confirmed that they would accept an extension from the current term of one year to the validity duration of the visa issued to foreigners. He also suggested them to create a business-friendly atmosphere in Sri Lanka, the laws relating to health certificates for foreigners must also be relaxed. The meeting provided a valuable dialogue that will form the basis for more trade and investment between Germany and Sri Lanka
The statement by Ambassador of Germany to Sri Lanka Jorn Rohde of the brand growth opportunities in Sri Lanka is indicative of the growing business ties between Sri Lankan and German businesses as well as the increased confidence levels on the strength and growth potential of Sri Lankan businesses. Foreign automobile companies could explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s automobile industry and even look at forming partnerships/joint ventures with local companies to set up vehicle assembly plants on the island.
All these developments would help Sri Lanka engage in trade activities with other countries. On the other hand, Sri Lanka could attract more cruise liners to the state by developing other harbours around the country and developing the required infrastructure facilities. Foreign businesses/investors should explore the increasing investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s ports and shipping sector.
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