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Focus on new ventures in North and East:

Japan to strengthen trade with Sri Lanka

Japan will strengthen and expand trade ties with Sri Lanka in the tourism, fisheries, agriculture and aqua sports sectors.

A Japanese trade delegation recently met Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, BOI and RDA officials and also visited the Agro-Tourism project in Hambantota recently with the newly appointed Consul General for Sri Lanka in Osaka, Japan, D.W. Aluthgamage.

“The main objective of the visit was to strengthen and expand trade ties between Japan and Sri Lanka in the sectors of trade, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, aqua sports and other fields.

At a glance

* Japanese keen on investments here
* Around 20,000 Japanese tourists arrivals annually
* Excess fruits and vegetables to be exported

The BOI is the main facilitator for Japanese investors, but we need to improve our public relations systems to build the image of the new Sri Lanka after defeating terrorism”, Aluthgamage told Daily News Business.

“Japanese investors were keen on investing especially in the marine and aquatic sports in the Eastern Province. More efforts would be focused to start new ventures in the Northern and the Eastern provinces too”, he said.

“Sri Lanka has many natural resources, but the technology to introduce them to the world market is lacking. Sri Lanka has the opportunity to export sea food since there is a huge demand for it.

In addition, prawn processing is another area that could be developed for export.

The transport of sea food and storage technology has to be developed to export them to the world market”, Aluthgamage said.

“Around 20,000 Japanese tourists visit Sri Lanka annually. With the dawn of peace, the tourism industry should focus on increasing the number of tourist arrivals from Japan and other countries.

Japanese tourists are the best travellers and best spenders in the world. They spend over US$ 200 per day.

The Arugam Bay beach is one of the spectacular beaches in Sri Lanka and it is well-known for sea surfing. The Japanese are very interested in aquatic sports. Aquatic sports such as sea surfing, snorkelling and diving should be improved and expanded further.

The tourism industry in Sri Lanka has many opportunities and the industry could contribute much to the country’s economy and Japanese traders were also interested in it”, he said.

“Another industry which the Japanese delegation was keen on was the agricultural sector.

The excess of fruits and vegetables in Sri Lanka is 30-40 percent with an approximate value of US$ 65-70 million per year. These excess fruits and vegetables could be exported. The technology of packaging and transporting agricultural goods has to be enhanced with modern technology in Sri Lanka”, he said. Japan and Sri Lanka could move towards an agreement of exchanging trade.

It will enable Sri Lanka to export our resources while earning foreign exchange, gaining expertise and the latest technology. “Japan used to gain vast profits during the past, but due to the present global downturn its profits slowed down recently, but Sri Lanka could gain access to trade with Japan and establish joint ventures with them.

Sri Lanka and Japan should have business councils, investment seminars, associations and volunteer services to expand trade between the two countries”, Aluthgamage said.

“Arrangements are also being made to organize trade promotions in Japan to start joint ventures in October and the main facilitator would be the BOI”, he said.

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