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    ‘Wait, our B2B list coming!’-Belarus

    July 12, 2014

    For the first time, no less than a stream of state owned businesses of a foreign economy is eyeing direct B2B with Lankan private sector. “Most of our business enterprises are state owned and still keen on exploring business opportunities here. We will definitely be happy to see more Lankan companies as our partners. We will send you our list of first B2B delegation soon!” said an upbeat (H.E) Valentin B. Rybakov (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus) on 09 July in Colombo.

    The visiting Deputy Minister Rybakov was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) on 09 July during his maiden courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen.

     

    Deputy Minister Rybakov arrived in Sri Lanka on 08 July leading a 20+ member Belarusian delegation for the first ever Sri Lanka-Belarus Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation session held in Colombo on 09-10 July. The successfully concluded session resulted in strategic joint ventures between both countries in automotives, and agriculture and has also created the platform for future trade, investment and B2B cooperation between both countries. Also present on 09 July courtesy call were Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), R D S Kumararatne (Director General of Department of Commerce), (HE) Vitaly Prima (Delhi based Belarus Ambassador for Sri Lanka), and Ms Maya Rusetkaya (Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

     

    “The strategic areas of economic development for Belarus are based on two key economic principles-improving business environment and investment” said Deputy Minister Rybakov and added: “After this Sri Lanka-Belarus Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation session in Colombo, businesses of both countries can forge closer links with increased trade and much more opportunities. Most of our business enterprises are state owned and still keen on exploring business opportunities here. We will definitely be happy to see more Lankan companies as our partners. We will send you our list of first B2B delegation soon! One of the objectives of Colombo’s Joint Economic Session’s structure is to find partners for these Belarusian state businesses to find partners in Sri Lanka such as in automotives and even create synergies-for instance in  dairy and agricultural sectors. We invite your businesses to top trade and business events in Belarus such as trade shows.”

     

    When it comes to Sri Lanka’s current trade with Belarus, of the total of 231 exports destinations of Sri Lanka in 2013, Belarus ranked as the 77th export destination. Less than 01%, that is 0.05%, of Lanka’s total exports are taken by Belarus. This shows that Belarus is still a virgin market for Sri Lanka with strong B2B potentials. As for our bilateral trade, the total trade between both countries stood at dollars 14.24 Mn in 2013. 94% of Lankan exports to Belarus are various teas.

     

    Responding Deputy Minister Rybakov, Minister Bathiudeen said: ”Excellency, today we warmly welcome you and your first ever business delegation to Sri Lanka. We are keen and sincere that the latest Sri Lanka-Belarus Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation session in Colombo starting today will expand the reach of business communities of the two countries towards each other. We invite a strong, B2B specific delegation from Belarus to Sri Lanka including any business associations and Chambers in Belarus. I, my officials and our government would extend our best possible assistance to you in this.  We too are keen to send our businesses to Belarus for B2B and your many business and trade expositions would be a good start where our businesses start to see what’s on offer at your side.”  

     

    According to the World Bank, the state’s role in its economy is such that three quarters of Belarusian GDP comes from state owned entities and 70% of the banking system’s assets are held by three state owned banks. As for Sri Lanka, 10 large States Owned Business Enterprises (SOBEs) engaged in ports, aviation, water, electricity, petroleum, banking and insurance, take up 95% of the asset base of 55 SOBEs in the country. The 10 large SOBEs play a strategic role in the national economy.(HC/SI)

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