Written by Tharushan Fernando
12 Aug, 2016 | 9:19 pm
The fifth edition of the Indo – Ceylon Economic dialogue was held in Colombo on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen noted that the Indo-Lanka trade is about to cross the five billion U.S. dollar threshold. The dialogue, jointly organised by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and industry was joined by the Deputy Indian Higher Commissioner to Sri Lanka Arindam Bagchi
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiyutheen stated that both countries together are now ready to cross the $ five billion market bilateral trade at any time and interestingly this promising trade growth was seen on a year on year basis even last year.
He added that last year bilateral trade grew by 6.3% to elevate this 4.9 billion dollars and just as trade shows a growth trend ,bilateral investment too is showing a positive trend.
The minister pointed out that on the investment side, from 2005 to 2015 September, a total Indian investment volume in Sri lanka has come close to 800 million dollars, and more, private sector FDI valued at around one billion dollars is in the pipeline for Sri Lanka.
Deputy Indian Higher Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Arindam Bagchi expressed that a new transformative phase has been constructed in the relationship between the two countries
He added that more than two billion in exports from India and the 645 million that Sri Lanka exports have, have increased manifold since the signing of the FTA, fifteen years ago, where two thirds of the Sri Lankan exports use the benefits of the FTA, whereas Indian exports, hardly 10% use the FTA.
He further pointed out that air connectivity has gone up so sharply -about a 154 flights a week from Colombo actually to various destinations in India.
“Here I must compliment the SriLankan Airlines despite all the bad press it is getting now., SriLankan Airlines flies far more flights, Mihin flies far more flights that all the Indian flights put together, not just Air India”, said the Deputy Indian Higher Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
He went on to note that now it is being attmepted to negotiate the FTA to a more broadly encompassing services investment, under the ETCA.
“I know there are some who have commented adversly on it, but they are in the minority. I assure you of the benefits it will have for all sides”, he said He went on to note that the Sri Lankan Government is offering plots of lands to set up special economic zones, for example in pharmaceuticals.
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