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DateLine Sunday, 20 July 2008

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Exchange control relaxed to promote business abroad

The exchange control procedure has been liberalised for Sri Lankan businesses to venture into overseas markets. Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the chief guest at the Indo Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday said that Sri Lankan companies should have the courage and determination to venture into the huge Indian subcontinent to set up business.

He said although the Free Trade Agrement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka had matured only a few Sri Lankan companies had achieved success over the years. The companies had the courage and vision to set up businesses in India taking advantage of the Free Trade Agreement.

He said the concept enshrined in the Mahinda Chintana was to encourage small business to become medium sized businesses and medium businesses to become large and large ones to invest overseas. For this purpose exchange control regulations have been liberalised where approvals can be granted in a month.

Several Sri Lankan companies have set up businesses in Australia, the Maldives and other countries, he said.

Referring to tourism he said there was more potential in tapping markets such as India, China and the Middle East than the Western markets that have imposed travel advisories.

The government’s intention was to make trade, industry and the Chamber of Commerce comfortable with the new partnership being formed.

He said the private sector would benefit more than the government. India and Sri Lanka enjoy a special relationship and even legends had contributed to foster the relationship, he said.

Referring to the formation of the Indo Sri Lanka Business Council, he said it was most timely when business activities were taking between the two countries.

Referring to the trade deficit he said that Sri Lanka imported goods to the tune of US dollars 13 billion and exports amounted to only nine billion US dollars. Mano Selvanathan was appointed unanimously for the second time as the Chairman of the Indo-Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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