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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

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US mission holds first forum in Colombo

The US Multi-Sector trade mission to Colombo held its first forum last week in Colombo. The U.S. Embassy, in partnership with the US Commercial Service, hosted this event with the prime focus of promoting potential business and investment opportunities and foster trade between the two countries, through the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka.

This was an important and exclusive event that consolidated the main objective of putting forth business entities and ideals to promote bilateral trade between the US and Sri Lanka. USA considers Asia as its most important trading partner and emphasis on trade and investment being vested into Asia.

The United States is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, with over $ two billion in annual exports from Sri Lanka and $ 200 million in imports of US goods and services. The trade mission included participating delegates from a group of US companies that represented the education sector, IT, architecture and engineering, food industries, medicine, airline services and infrastructure development. These sectors would help provide a considerable growth prospect to Sri Lanka.

The forum’s discussion was highlighted on Sri Lanka’s position in the market.

Whilst emerging markets like Burma and Vietnam were a major attraction for US investors, Sri Lanka should try to create the accurate environment for investors and therefore, utilize this opportunity. The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka is committed to support any further action with regard to this.

A presentation was conducted by Prasath Nanayakkara, Vice President of American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka, in which AMCHAM’s role in the partnership was emphasized. “The chamber has an annual growth rate of 12 percent. The American Chamber of Commerce’s objective is to stimulate, develop, promote, foster and facilitate commercial, industrial and economical entities within the two countries,” Nanayakkara said during the presentation.

Special focus for 2013 was intended towards Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) where we could bring together multiple units to be promoted and assist them in their future ventures.

“There is a demand in the fields of education and health. Sri Lanka volume in terms of market space is small and we need to raise awareness that for an investor to come into Sri Lanka for a potential venture, the volume needs to be considered considerably,” Ravin Basnayake, Country Head and CEO, Citibank said.

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