Sri Lanka and EU revive investor dialogue, discusses opportunities in the island
Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) has reportedly revived the investor dialogue between the two countries with Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and EU Ambassador Denis Chaibi as co-chairs.
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Development Coordination and Monitoring and State Minister of Digital Technology Namal Rajapaksa, State Minister for Aviation and Export Zones Development D.V. Chanaka, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya had also participated in this discussion, according to local media reports.
The EU was represented by German Ambassador Holger Seubert, French Ambassador Eric Lavertue, the Netherlands Ambassador Tania Gonggrijp, Italy’s Deputy Head of Mission Franceso Perale, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium (based in India) Arnaud Lion, French Embassy’s Economic Counsellor, Jean-Alexandre Egea, EU Deputy Head of Mission Thorsten Bargfrede, reports further stated.
Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Eng. Raja Edirisuriya had delivered the opening remarks and gave an overview of the economic situation, foreign investment trend in 2021 and the latest measures and regulations to support foreign investment.
“Doing business in Sri Lanka has now returned to normalcy, despite what the country went through with the pandemic,” he had said, adding, “The BOI looks forward to working closely with the EU to facilitate the existing investors as well as to encourage the existing companies to re-invest and expand their operations in Sri Lanka.”
EU Ambassador Chaibi had spoken of the bilateral trade and EU investment in Sri Lanka and said: “this kind of dialogue is an important forum to solve the issues of EU investors and retain them in Sri Lanka in the long run.” He had also stated that: “the EU would like to make Sri Lanka an attractive investment destination for potential investors from the EU.”
According to reports, matters discussed at the dialogue comprised of the foreign exchange crisis in Sri Lanka, the need for a better consistency regarding investment and tax policies, the need for a streamlined, clearer and easy process to establish a company in Sri Lanka, positioning Sri Lanka as a transport and logistics hub, promoting public private partnerships to boost EU Investment in Sri Lanka, improve the trade facilitation to increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the economy, modernising the health sector.
Senior Government officials led by Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygala, respective line agencies including Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Commerce and BOI participated in the discussion.
The EU is one of Sri Lanka’s key trading partners with the latter enjoying the EU’s GSP Plus trade concessions. Sri Lanka has also recorded a steady growth in the country’s exports sector despite facing pandemic challenges. Local authorities are focused on further uplifting and developing the country’s exports sector. With Sri Lanka’s expanding economy and the positioning as an emerging business destination in the South Asian region, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka. Also, the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as concessions enjoyed by the country have also helped boost Sri Lanka’s attraction as a growing business hub. Businesses/investors in the EU could therefore explore the growing business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses.
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