Russia and Sri Lanka expand talks on energy, agriculture, health and hospitality sectors.
Daily FT: Russia has said it is ready to expand trade cooperation with Sri Lanka, and noted several discussions had already been met focusing on the spheres of energy, agriculture, hospitality and health.
Addressing a Roundtable Discussion on Sri Lanka-Russian Trade and Investment Opportunities at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Russia Trade Commissioner Alexander Rybus revealed he already engaged with Sri Lanka’s ministry of energy on expanding trade between the two countries in the energy sector.
He noted discussions centred on the supply of oil and coal, but had also touched on potential for other projects. Touching on Russia’s competency on nuclear energy for power generation, Rybus said Russia could offer technical knowledge and investments in the sector. Pointing to people-linked difficulties in Sri Lanka concerning such developments, he said Russia could discuss different options including off-shore platforms.
The Russian Trade Commission falls directly under the purview of the country’s Prime Minister and Rybus said he is keen to invite a delegation of Russian businesses to come explore trade and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
He said Russia also manufactures “some of the cleanest” fertilisers and building materials based on chrysolite and that Sri Lanka could take better advantage of these solutions. He clarified there are toxic and harmless grades of chrysolite fibres and that Russia had commissioned further studies to pinpoint the safest substances. The report is due before the end of year.
The Russian Trade Delegation also expressed potential in developing Sri Lanka’s ship building capacity, digitalisation of Government and transport sectors. With Russia offering more direct flights to Colombo than some major Indian cities, Rybus said it is important to consider developing tourism from Sri Lanka to Russia as well. The delegation had met with several Sri Lankan officials including the ministry of trade, energy, transport, education and others.
Board of Investment (BOI) Director General Renuka Weerakone, welcomed the suggestion by Rybus to invite a Russian delegation to Sri Lanka and said her institution would be happy to collaborate with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to present a broader look at opportunities in Sri Lanka.
She also outlined details of the BOI’s export processing zones and the exclusive pharmaceutical manufacturing zone in southern Sri Lanka offering tax-free facilities for manufacturers. The Russian delegation expressed interest in the special economic zones described by the BOI Director General.
Sri Lanka and Russia enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties. It is in such a backdrop that Russia has expressed interest in exploring the expanding opportunities in several key economic sectors in the country. Sri Lanka’s economy is also on the path to expansion with a host of new business/investment opportunities emerging in the sectors of energy, agriculture, health and hospitality. The country’s economic resilience has also played a key role in building confidence among foreign businesses/investors. Despite facing challenging economic conditions, Sri Lanka’s private sector has recorded a steady growth and profits. Sri Lanka is also working towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region supported by the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the strong trade ties enjoyed by the country. Russian businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka while also looking at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses.
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