Sri Lanka to increase bilateral trade with Russia to US$ 700 million
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has reportedly said that Sri Lanka is looking at increasing bilateral trade with Russia to US$ 700 million and continue policies set by the previous administration.
“Sri Lanka and Russia are keen to further expand the bilateral economic engagement and increase bilateral trade to meet target volume of US$ 700 million,” Gunawardena has said at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Relations Minister Sergey Lavrov held during the Russian Minister’s recent visit to Sri Lanka.
The US$ 700 million trade target was set by former President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena in 2017 during a visit to Russia.
“Our discussions focused on continuing the political dialogue and advancing bilateral economic and technical cooperation within the Russia-Sri Lanka Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation,” Gunawardena has noted.
Meanwhile, Lavrov has said Russia needs further interaction with local markets to support infrastructure development.
“We know Sri Lanka is keen to receive our support in the areas of hydrocarbon exploration and building tourism infrastructure. For these to take shape, we need to establish more direct contact with the [Sri Lankan] business community,” Lavrov has observed.
According to Gunawardena, joint venture businesses for rubber products, coconuts products, spices, herbal drinks, ceramics, fish and gem and jewellery between Sri Lanka and Russia would be encouraged and given priority.
Sri Lanka and Russia have agreed to cooperate in agriculture, food, fisheries, water management, education, trade, investment, tourism, security and defence, renewable power and science and technology, local media reports further state.
Russia is Sri Lanka’s 15th largest export market and 24th largest source of imports.
According to official data, Sri Lanka had exported US$ 185 million or 1.6 percent out of the total exports to Russia.
The commitment between Sri Lanka and Russia to further boost trade and bilateral ties will undoubtedly open up new business/investment opportunities in the country. Russian businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and also look at the possibility of forming partnerships/joint ventures with Sri Lankan companies. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean, the ease of doing business environment in the country and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have made it an attractive business destination in the South Asian region.
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