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Jordanian business delegation to visit Lanka on investment mission

Follow-up to President Rajapaksa's visit:

Delegation: Subsequent to the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Jordan recently, a 20-member Jordanian business delegation will visit Sri Lanka by the end of the year to pursue investment opportunities.

A 20-member local business delegation too was included for this tour and most of them found partners to start up business in Jordan. President Federation of Chamber of Commerce, Nawaz Rajabdeen who led the business delegation said that there are also many opportunities for Sri Lankans to start business in Jordan.

Already a Sri Lankan has set up an apparel factory and employs 1,500 Sri Lankans. "The biggest advantage in starting apparel industries in Jordan is that the finished products can go to the US duty free."

He said that the meetings the President had with senior Ministers and business leaders had opened new avenues for business especially for the fruit and vegetable sectors.

"Already there is an increased demand for Sri Lankan tea, spices and there is an emerging market for the gem and jewellery sector," he said. Sri Lankans too should pursue the opportunities in the industry and leisure sectors, as the incentives provided for foreign investors are very encouraging.

Increasing tourism is helping the Jordanian economy, with 2.5 million visitors a year. Jordan has never been self sufficient in food, but now the gap is increasing, as internal demand rises quicker than production. Jordan is importing products after the same criteria that apply to underdeveloped countries: export of some products, and import of basic food stuffs.

He said that in addition there is a great demand not only for housemaids but also for skilled workers. "The high literacy rate is a major advantage for Sri Lankans," he said.

Already 65, 000 Lankan expatiates are working in Jordan. A strong 20-member business delegation of the apparel, rubber, biscuits, shipping sector was included for this tour and the Jordanian counterparts were also keen on setting up shipping logistic centers in Colombo.

The FCCISL also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Jordan Chamber of Industries and this would help Sri Lankans to do business in Jordan. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has initiated to have close follow ups to this visit and they would set up a Sri Lanka- Jordan Business Council soon.

Possibilities of having a stop over in Jordan for 'Mihin Lanka' were also pursued during this visit. "This would be very important as the airline is catering to the expatriate community based in the Gulf. 'Mihin Lanka' is already flying to Dubai and they can have stop overs in these destinations," he said.

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