Japan interested in investing in Sri Lanka despite political turbulence
The Morning: During a recent visit of a Japanese delegation of investors expressing their views on Sri Lanka, they said that they “love and believe in Sri Lanka”, and expressed keen interest in establishing a pharmaceutical company in the pharma zone, which is being established.
Also, among the members of the delegation, there were two media personnel who were very positive, according to the Board of Investment (BOI), in their views of Sri Lanka, and stated that they will record this visit to create a better understanding of Sri Lanka’s potential for investment and tourism among the Japanese public.
While welcoming the visiting delegation, BOI (Sri Lanka) Chairman Eng. Raja Edirisuriya spoke of the long-standing bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Japan.
“This year, 2022, we marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He further described the efforts made by the Sri Lankan Government to build a climate that is investor-friendly for all investors. Though the country is facing economic turmoil, he emphasised that Sri Lanka will rise despite the challenges being faced at present. The Government is looking for all the best possible causes of action to create a better socio-economic environment in the country,” the statement issued in this regard noted.
He requested the delegation to visit the Colombo Port City to see the developments that have taken place, and invited the delegation to consider investing in the Port City, as well as to assist Sri Lanka in overcoming its current difficulties.
The delegation comprises entrepreneurs from the Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Association which consists of nearly 300 small and medium scale entrepreneurs. Amongst the five-member delegation, there were participants who are engaged in media, manufacturing, clinical nutrition, tourism, and insurance.
At present, about 80 enterprises with Japanese investment are in operation under the purview of the BOI (Section 17 and Section 16 of the BOI Law). They have made their investments in manufacturing semiconductors, printing circuit boards, safety sensors, ceramic items, cement, apparel, building and repairing ships, fabrication, and installation of integrated buildings, power sector, tourism sector, infrastructure, and logistics.
Currently, they have invested about $ 399 million (cumulative 2020), providing about 12,000 employment opportunities within the Sri Lankan community. The long-standing good relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan, built over the years, as well as the high drive of work ethics of the workers and Sri Lanka’s continued business operation despite turbulent times, has given this delegation confidence to explore possibilities of investing in Sri Lanka.
BOI Director General (DG) Renuka Weerakoon also briefed the visitors about the upcoming zones for dedicated industries such as IT, agriculture, textile, and pharmaceutical. She explained in detail the advantages of investing in Sri Lanka and encouraged the delegation to consider their next investment in Sri Lanka.
BOI hosted the Japanese delegation headed by Colombo International Airport Hotel project CEO Ruwan Nashiki. Edirisuriya, Weerakoon, BOI Executive Director – Investment Promotion Prasanjith Wijethilaka, and BOI Executive Director – Project Implementation Upali Senarath participated in the meeting with the purpose of looking at areas for greater co-operation in investment.
Sri Lanka and Japan enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties while Japan is also a key development partner of the island. Japan has funded many large scale projects in Sri Lanka for the past few decades. Sri Lanka is engaged in a development programme and is working towards promoting the island as an emerging business destination in the region. The country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade links have also helped in promoting the business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Given the increasing business potential in Sri Lanka and the expanding opportunities, Japanese businesses/investors could confidently explore opportunities in the country. Japanese businesses could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses.
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