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Sri Lanka and UK discuss stepping up bilateral trade, investment and areas of cooperation

Sri Lanka and UK discuss stepping up bilateral trade, investment and areas of cooperation

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and UK Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena have recently discussed via a teleconference ways of stepping up bilateral trade, investment and expanding areas of cooperation between the two countries. 
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry has stated that it was the first official interaction between the two Ministers. 
Both Ministers had reportedly welcomed further consolidating the longstanding bilateral engagement through increased trade, security, research and training, science and technology, and cultural cooperation, including people-to-people contacts.  
Ministers Gunawardena and Jayawardena had agreed on the need for close cooperation to address the challenges facing bilateral trade and investment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both had reportedly identified the importance of moving the supply chains and opening travel and tourism sectors to address pressing economic issues. Opportunities for new export products to the UK market from Sri Lanka were also discussed. 
Recalling the shared values and interests between the UK and Sri Lanka as members of the Commonwealth, Minister Gunawardena had reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to continue its active participation in the organisation.   
Foreign Relations Gunawardena had also extended an invitation for Minister Ranil Jayawardena to visit Sri Lanka at the earliest opportunity.
According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka data, the UK is the second largest market for Sri Lanka accounting for 8.4% of Sri Lanka’s exports in 2019. Export earnings from the UK had increased in 2019 by 1.8% to US$ 998 million.

OSL take:

Sri Lanka and UK have strong bilateral, trade and investment ties. The commitment to further strengthen ties is a positive sign for the economies of both countries. As reported above, UK is a strong development partner of Sri Lanka. Given Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean, ease of doing business environment and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have made the island a business hub in the South Asian region. Businesses/investors in the UK could therefore confidently explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and use its trade agreements to engage in businesses with other countries in the region as well.  

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20200728/Z_2

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