Thai envoy expresses desire to strengthen economic links with Lanka
Thai Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Chulamanee Chartsuwan said that Thailand was enthusiastic in its efforts to further strengthen Thai-Sri Lankan bilateral relations.
The envoy made this observation addressing the 17th AGM of the Sri Lanka – Thailand Business Council.
Speaking at the event, the envoy said, “My posting in Sri Lanka is at very opportune time when the two close friends – Thailand and Sri Lanka – bound closely by historical and cultural and religious ties – have significantly been moving closer to the other in economic field – closer than any time in our modern relations – on the way to become strategic partnership.”
Referring to the trade partnership between the two countries, Chartsuwan stated, “In 2016, Thailand and Sri Lanka governments set a target to triple trade value between the two countries from presently USD 500 million to USD 1,500 million by 2020.”
“With this ambitious trade target set by the Governments, and with my strong economic background, it is not by chance that I have been assigned to be Ambassador to Sri Lanka today. Thailand Week with the first Thai Trade Fair was organised in less than one month after I landed here. My mission is clear from day one,” the envoy added.
On the investment side Chartsuwan noted that the Thai investment value jumping 10 times from USD 70 million in 2015 to USD 700 million in 2016, mainly through the investment by Siam City Cement in Insee company, there is no reason not to expect much more investment from Thailand.
“Just one very concrete example was another historic day in our economic relations as the Joint letter of Intent was signed between Sri Lankan BOI and Rojana Industrial Estate to establish Milleniya Export Processing Zone in Kalutara District. This EPZ-Sri Lanka’s first industrial zone in over a decade – will attract USD 500 million in its initial two phases, expecting to create 10,000 new jobs through 100 manufacturing operations, and the number of manufacturers operating there is expected to double at later stage when the EPZ is expanded from the initial 400 acres to 1,000 acres. It is hoped that the approval and construction of infrastructure – normally five years – would be completed in one year and the project ready by end 2018,” the ambassador pointed out.
According to the envoy, Thailand has given a clear signal to seek ways and means to upgrade our bilateral relationship to the level of strategic partnership.
“The political will from both sides is clear; the tricky part is to walk the talk.”
As expressed by the Thai Ambassador, Thai investment in Sri Lanka has risen ten-fold between the 12 month period from 2015 to 2016. Also, as mentioned by him Sri Lanka’s ideal geographical location makes it one of South Asia’s most attractive logistics hubs.
As such opportunities exist in many sectors for potential investors but the logistics industry seems extremely promising according to Chartsuwan.
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