Opportunity Sri Lanka | » Germany to step up economic engagement with Sri Lanka via several bilateral initiatives
Germany to step up economic engagement with Sri Lanka via several bilateral initiatives

Germany to step up economic engagement with Sri Lanka via several bilateral initiatives

Germany is stepping up its economic engagement with Sri Lanka via a spate of bilateral initiatives whilst calling for greater liberalisation and reforms to spur more investments and trade, the Daily FT has reported.
German Ambassador Joern Rohde this week will be attending in Germany the Sri Lanka-German Business Roundtable which the Ambassador said has expanded considerably in the past few years especially after the change of Government in January 2015, the news report states.
Accordingly, German’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Vice-Minister Steffen Bilger is to visit Sri Lanka later this week for bilateral talks including with his Sri Lankan counterparts.
He is to attend the ‘German-Sri Lankan Logistic Conference 2019’ at The Kingsbury Colombo on 29 August from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
The main objective of this conference organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka, would be to build up the bilateral connection between the two countries in the logistic sector.
“This is why Germany has been calling for greater liberalisation in the logistics, shipping and maritime sector of Sri Lanka,” the Ambassador has been quoted as saying in the Daily FT. This, he has added, will spur more foreign investments in to the sector.In June a top Sri Lankan delegation from the shipping sector visited Germany to attend a logistics exhibition.
Furthermore Germany is further deepening its engagement in Sri Lanka with a showcase of top German brands event in mid-September.
“I am keen to ensure German-Sri Lanka ties reach its full potential,” Ambassador Rohde has reiterated.
Noting that bilateral trade is on the rise with about 10% growth year on year, he has further observed that the main issues remain in terms of fast tracking German investments in Sri Lanka as well as accelerating imports from Germany.
The Ambassador has noted that political stability and reforms will help boost German investments into Sri Lanka though due to the election cycle economic sentiment remains muted.
Going forward on the economic side, what Sri Lanka needs is greater liberalisation and opening up, especially in the shipping and logistics sector. This is something I have often reiterated. Reduction in tariff is also important along with more free trade agreements.
“The Board of Investment (BOI) also needs to reduce the minimum investment requirements which in certain cases don’t make business sense. For example in the retail and bonded warehouse segment, minimum investment is $ 5 million and this limit discourages the SMEs in overseas countries who are the backbone and may consider setting up operations in Sri Lanka,” Ambassador Rohde has emphasised.

OSL take:

The interest shown by Germany towards enhancing economic cooperation with Sri Lanka is indicative of the recognition of the country’s economic growth as well as the potential for further growth. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have made it an attractive business/investment destination in the South Asian region. The island also enjoys the EU’s GSP Plus trade concessions. Like Germany other foreign countries could also explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka or even use it as a base to do business with other countries in the region using the island’s trade ties.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/29082019/Z_3

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