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Monday, 22 November 2010

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Belgian trade delegation here

A Belgian trade and investment delegation will be visiting Sri Lanka from November 22 to 26. The delegation consists of 40 companies (over 50 persons) in the fields of agro-food, machinery, construction, interior, energy, fisheries, gems, information technology, infrastructure, water supply, financial services, textile, tobacco, tourism investments and various trading companies.

Most of them are seeking to do business with Sri Lanka for the first time.

The need to further develop economic cooperation can be clearly felt from both sides. Projects of several Belgian companies in the health sector, infrastructure, water supply, water sanitation and waste disposal in excess of Euro 50 million have already been received or are in the process to be approved by the Government and many more projects are waiting to be implemented.

Belgium Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean Deboutte said this trade mission comes at a most opportune moment. “After a long war, Sri Lanka is embarking on a new phase of its economic development, whereas the Belgian economy is in an expansion phase, after the global economic slowdown.

The conditions are thus right to engage in an enhanced cooperation and to maximize the benefits of complementarities between the two economies,” he said. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha, said given that at present over 70 percent of Sri Lanka-Belgium two way trade centres on diamonds and Belgian investment is limited to a handful of products, the diversity in the sectors represented by the participating delegation is its most significant feature.

“That a bulk of them for the first time have chosen to explore investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and import our products notwithstanding the absence of preferential trade with Europe, is indicative of the competitiveness and potential Sri Lanka continues to enjoy in these markets. Together with Belgian tourist arrivals expected to increase by over 100 percent by the end of this year,” he said.

During their stay in the island the delegation will meet government officials and attend a briefing at the BOI, as well as a sector specific seminar held in collaboration with the Chamber of Construction Industry.

Two match making opportunities are also being organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, as well as by the Benelux Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, for companies interested in meeting Sri Lankan exporters and manufacturers.

The visiting Belgian companies will also have individual B2B meetings. The program also provides opportunities for visits to Sri Lanka’s blue-chip companies, several companies based on Belgian investment, Building a Future Foundation in the frame of sustainable fishing and touristic exploration and excursions.

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