Japan-Sri Lanka Economic Cooperation Policy Dialogue strengthens ties and commitments
Daily FT: The Japan-Sri Lanka Economic Cooperation Policy Dialogue was held on 5 January at the Finance Ministry, deepening mutual commitment to strengthen economic ties and expand collaboration between the two countries.
Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry International Cooperation Bureau Director General Endo Kazuya led the Japanese delegation.
Co-chaired by Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Ministry Secretary K.M. Mahinda Siriwardana and Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry International Cooperation Bureau Director General Endo Kazuya, the dialogue focused on the Japanese-funded project portfolio and future economic prospects.
Director General Endo commended Sri Lanka’s efforts and reiterated Japan’s commitment to aiding the country’s swift recovery. He also applauded the Government’s commitment to continuing the economic reforms supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.
Stressing the importance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on debt restructuring, he underscored the need for transparency and comparability in agreements with creditors outside the Official Creditor Committee (OCC).
Finance Ministry Secretary K.M. Siriwardena expressed gratitude for Japan’s unwavering support, highlighting its crucial role in Sri Lanka’s recovery from a severe economic crisis.
He emphasized Sri Lanka’s dedication to transparent governance and comparability in the debt restructuring process, a pivotal aspect of ongoing reforms.
The discussion also delved into Japan’s ongoing economic cooperation, including Yen loan projects, aiming at stabilizing and strengthening Sri Lanka’s economy.
Director General Endo assured continued Japanese support for Sri Lanka’s recovery and development, emphasizing a path towards progressive growth.
Siriwardana also sought Japan’s future cooperation, highlighting the Yen loan projects as catalysts for attracting investments.
He extended an invitation to Japanese investors to actively assess opportunities in Sri Lanka, seeking both technical and financial support for ongoing IMF-supported reforms.
Sri Lanka and Japan enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties that are once again being revitalized and strengthened following several incidents in the past that had strained relations between the two countries. However, Japan has once again expressed keenness to become a development partner of Sri Lanka. The Japanese have already noted that the country was ready to provide financial assistance to key development programmers in the country as soon as Sri Lanka finalizes its debt restructuring programmed. Several Japanese companies that have partnerships with local businesses have also recorded growth and profits, indicating the strength, resilience and overall business potential in Sri Lanka even after facing many challenges since the global pandemic. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed with other countries also places Sri Lanka in a strategic position as an emerging business destination in the region. While the Japanese and Sri Lankan government look at further financial commitments for development programmers, Japanese businesses/investors could explore the expanding business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. They could also look at setting up base in Sri Lanka in order to engage with other countries in the region using the preferential treatment enjoyed by Sri Lanka with these countries.
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