08 February 2012

Sri Lanka Investment Forum in Tokyo Attracts Good Response. Facilitates Participation at the Forthcoming Sri Lanka Expo 2012

06th February 2012, www.island.lk

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan organised a business, investment and commercial forum/seminar with a view of encouraging and facilitating Japanese based business persons in participating at the forthcoming ‘Sri Lanka Expo – 2012’ seminar in Colombo.

The seminar, held at the Mission last week, was attended by approximately 50 businesspersons with commercial and economic interests in Sri Lanka. Some of them were potential business persons . Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Tokyo, Admiral (Rtd.) Wasantha Karannagoda and other senior officials of the Mission addressed the business community and made comprehensive presentations, accentuating the economic, investment and commercial opportunities in the country, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Tokyo said in a statement.

Ambassador Admiral Karannagoda, welcomed and greeted the Japanese business persons. He stated that this was the most propitious time to be engaged with Sri Lanka vis-à-vis commercial and trading activities, investments and other economic activities among others. The Ambassador impressed upon the surge of economic growth, during the last couple of years, in the country. He emphasised that today Sri Lanka has permanent peace, after nearly a three decade civil strife , and is one of the safest places to engage in business venures and invest in the world. Further, the Ambassador delineated the key economic and financial factors of the country, which would be vital for any existing business person to expand the entity or a potential business person to consider committing investments and to be engaged in commercial and trading activities.Karannagoda said that Sri Lanka recorded a GDP growth of 8.1% in the fiscal year of 2011, possesses total reserves sufficient for nine months of imports which is obviously a fundamental indicator of the stability of a given economy, the unprecedented arrival of tourists in 2011 which was close to a million and the strategic location of the country with close proximity to the South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Middle East, thus enabling a manufacturing or servicing corporate or entity to market their products from Sri Lanka to almost half of the global population, within a brief length of time, among others.

The Ambassador highlighted the common heritage, religion and traditions of our two countries and the cordial relations the Sri Lanka and Japan have been maintaining for several decades, which would obviously facilitate economic and investment activities, with ease. He added that several corporates and buisnesses from Japan have invested heavily in Sri Lanka, in the past as well in the very recent past, and they have been expanding their entities, thus reflecting the degree of contentment and satisfaction of their investments. Japan is one of the largest Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in Sri Lanka and we would be happy to witness a marked increase of such investments, commercial and trading activities as well as economic activity with regard to Japan. The Ambassador with his intrinsic knowledge enunciated the inherent and economic utility of the ports of Colombo and Trincomalee as well as the newly built mega port of Hambantota. He added that in the world only nine ports could accommodate the 8thGeneration Container Vessels and two of these nine ports are located in Sri Lanka. This alone is a testimony of the economic and commercial potential of the country as well as a clear and compelling reflection that the country is on an economic trajectory.

Premised on these comments of the Ambassador, he urged the business persons from Japan who attended the seminar to participate at the ‘Sri Lanka Expo-2012’ in Colombo, scheduled to be held from 28th – 30th of March, 2012.

The Deputy Chief of Mission, A.S.U. Mendis, and First Secretary (Commercial), M. Somasena, also addressed the Forum. Mendis stated in his brief address to the Japanese companies and joint ventures which are already in Sri Lanka and invited the potential Japanese investors to capitalie on the business and investment opportunities availabe in Sri Lanka. This, in turn, would lead those companies and foreign investments to expand, thus accruing economic, commercial and social benefits to the landscape of Sri Lanka. He further said that Sri Lanka places priority to increase the FDI, exports and tourism. Mendis added that this was the most opportune time to enter Sri Lanka, in the context of business or commercial entity, since the economy of Sri Lanka is highly stable and poised to record a GDP of 8%-9% in the future years. The First Secretary (Commercial),Somasena, made a comprehensive presentation encompassing the intricate dynamics of the economy, distinct advantages the country possesses, the goods and services which could be imported from Sri Lanka to Japan at a competitive cost and other sectors where investments and economic activity could be focused. Somasena also highlighted that Sri Lanka envisions to evolve as a ‘Hub of Asia’, in spheres such as finance & banking, tourism, services, information & technology, outsourcing and shipping & aviation. He also delineated the benefits of attending the ‘Sri Lanka Expo-2012’ and encouraged the participants at the Business Seminar to take part in it in Colombo in March of 2012.The Business Seminar/Forum was ensued by a session on networking and a dinner reception.

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