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    This stronger, newer India could bring more trade, investments - Rishad

    May 23, 2014

    The historic political changes in India and the new waves could strongly boost Sri Lanka’s trade fortunes-and  President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s acceptance of invitation to attend the swearing in ceremony of India’s Prime Minister elect Narendra Modi has now been acclaimed by a top Indian delegation currently visiting Sri Lanka, revealing the post-elections Indian view on the country for the first time.


     “We congratulate people of India for their decision. I believe a stronger India could boost our exports in future as well as much better trade balance which already showed an improvement in 2013” said a keen Rishad Bathiudeen Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 23 May in Colombo.


    Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the members of CII Business Delegation to Sri Lanka. The 14 member CII delegation led by Ramesh Mutha (Mohan Mutha Exports Ltd) is currently on a four day tour to Colombo seeking investment and B2B opportunities. Among the large scale corporates in the delegation are Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (government owned infrastructure consultancy firm), GMR Group (heavy infrastructure including airports and highways), Astrotech Ltd (steels), Mohan Muhtha Exports (diverse activities), BBC Universal Exports (high end construction material), Getech Equipment (drilling), along with Roquette Riddhi Siddhi Ltd (confectionary), and SOBIS Software (energy sector software) and four firms in textile industry - Carona Knitwear, SRG Apparels, Gomathy International, Myco Pranav Creations.

     

    CII was founded 116 years ago and is a non-government, industry led & industry managed body representing over 8100 organisations (direct membership) from the private & public sectors, SMEs and MNCs, and commands an indirect membership of over 90,000 companies from around 400 national and regional sectoral associations. According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, total bilateral trade between both neighbors stood at $ 4.086 Bn in 2012. In 2013, it was $ 3.36 Bn, as a result of the bill of imports from India falling by 12%, helping Sri Lanka’s trade balance to improve. After the implementation of ISFTA (1998), bilateral trade steadily increased. Among Sri Lankan exports to India are insulated wires & cables, bottle coolers, ships, cocoa products, marbles, MDF boards, nutmeg, mace, furniture, garments, rubber gloves, and glass bottles. Top imports from India are Petroleum products, automobiles, cotton, and sugar.


    “We strongly praise Sri Lanka’s President HE Mahinda Rajapaksa’s acceptance of invitation to attend the swearing in ceremony of our Prime Minister elect Narendra Modi.  This will clearly help boost our historic relations” said a beaming Ramesh Mutha, CII Mission Leader to Colombo addressing Minister Bathiudeen. “In the post – FTA period, Indo-Lanka trade has risen rapidly. Indian firms and their Joint Ventures in Sri Lanka not only help fill local demand but even have become part of Sri Lanka’s exports back to India. The large scale corporates in our delegation are keen on heavy infrastructure projects here including tourism infrastructure, plug and play IT parks and highways. We are also ready for JVs in healthcare, and high end education. We believe that it is time to introduce joint Indo-Lanka tourism projects. It’s also great news that Sri Lanka economy is reporting strong GDP growth rates at 7% and rising.”


    Responding to CII Mission Leader Mutha, Minister Bathiudeen said: “The last two CII delegations received were in August and November 2013. We concluded many fruitful discussions with CII in these meetings. Today I warmly welcome the first top Indian delegation to visit Sri Lanka representing the “new India.” The historic political waves in India and the new changes there appear to considerably stimulate our bilateral trade with India which has now crossed $ 4 Bn mark. In 2012, Indian firms invested US$ 158.20 Mn in Sri Lanka. According to Indian High Commission in Colombo, in the next two years, India is planning to invest over $ 2 Bn FDI in Sri Lanka for which we thank the people of India.  I and my government will extend our fullest support to visiting Indian investors and the businesses.”


    Both Minister Bathiudeen and the visiting CII members also discussed of the interests and idieas expressed by the Indian travelers and tourists to Sri Lanka on 23 May.

     

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