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Business and investor partnerships between Sri Lanka, US strengthened :

Much potential for US investors in Sri Lanka

There is much potential in Sri Lanka for investors from the United States to invest in a wide range of sectors such as IT, construction, infrastructure, gem and jewellery. The Governments of Sri Lanka and the United States have taken steps to strengthen business and investor partnerships at a time when stability and peace had returned to Sri Lanka, said Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Michael Delaney.

At a glance

* Sri Lankan workforce highly skilled

* Sri Lanka in a strategic geographical position in Asia

* Enhanced economic partnership possible between Sri Lanka and the United States

He was speaking at the Sri Lanka-United States, private-public partnership conference at the Cinnamon Grand yesterday.

He said the Sri Lankan workforce was highly skilled as the country has a high percentage of literacy. Therefore, the workforce in Sri Lanka would be at an advantage for investors who wish to set up business ventures in Sri Lanka.

Re-construction in the Northern and the Eastern provinces is important, as there will be many investment opportunities for novel business concepts.

“There is much potential for investments in Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka’s economy has shown stability and growth. Therefore, the Sri Lanka-United States, private-public partnership effort will further strengthen trade relationships between the two countries”, Delaney said.

Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said Sri Lanka recorded a steady economic growth of around six percent during the past four years.

With the opening of the Northern and the Eastern province there is much potential for investments in those regions, especially in the tourism, agriculture, fisheries and construction sectors.

The Sri Lanka-United States, private-public partnership conference will be vital to ensure the sustainable pattern of economic growth and increase foreign direct investments and business opportunities for Sri Lanka and the United Sates public-private partnerships, Cabraal said.

The policy of the Government was to usher in development to the regions outside the Western province, which had contributed 51 percent to the Gross National Production (GNP) in the past. With the new policies of the Government the Western province contribution to the GNP has reduced to 48 percent indicating that there was more economic activity in the provinces. Regional investments and economic activities will be increased and there is tremendous potential for foreign investors in the provinces, he said.

There is vast potential for tourism in the Eastern province and investors were welcome to set up hotels and tourist resorts while taking advantage of the beautiful and clean beaches in a sustainable manner. There was also scope for up market tourist hotels with larger investments to compete with regional tourist destinations and to attract affluent tourists, Cabraal said.

Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion and Media, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Sri Lanka considers education as an investment and has always endeavoured to achieve the highest percent of literacy in the region. Sri Lankans are working all over the world in many fields which shows that Sri Lankan workers would be an advantage to any foreign entrepreneur who wish to launch ventures in Sri Lanka.

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis said that she was confident that an enhanced economic partnership is possible between Sri Lanka and the United States. She would like to see Sri Lanka as a highly developed country by the end of her tenure of service in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya said that 38 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports are to the United States and there was much scope to increase the number of US investors in Sri Lanka, as there was greater potential for investments with peace and stability returning to the country. This would be a better platform for US investors to increase their investments and business in Sri Lanka.



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