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Sunday, 8 July 2012

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Malaysia -Sri Lanka business Council to be set-up

The Malaysia – Sri Lanka Business Council will be set up soon to boost bilateral trade and investment between the two countries said National Chamber of Commerce(NCC) and Industry of Malaysia Secretary General Dato’ Syed Al Habshee. He was speaking at a ceremony to renew the bilateral trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Malaysia on Tuesday.

Habshee said that the Malaysia- Sri Lanka Business Council will be an added strength to boost trade and explore investment opportunities in both countries. The Council in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Malaysia Business Council will promote ministerial level trade and investment in both countries. The President of the new Council is the CEO of ASIATA,. The two Councils will hold meetings each year alternatively and would look at opportunities to enhance trade and tourism between the two countries. Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia continues to grow steadily and according to NCC sources trade between the two countries will reach $ one billion this year.

Trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia reached $ 814m last year with exports from Malaysia amounting to $ 644m while imports accounted to $ 169m which is a 37 percent and 119 percent in Malaysia's exports and imports.

Crude rubber, chemicals and chemical products, textiles and clothing, rubber products and processed food are some of the major items exported to Malaysia by Sri Lanka while chemicals and chemical products, palm oil, non- metallic mineral products, refined petroleum products and electrical and electronic products are imported from Malaysia.

Malaysia has achieved vast economic growth attracting around 22 million tourists a year. The country recorded 24 million visitors last year. The number of tourists to Sri Lanka last year was 854,000.

“Malaysia promotes education and health tourism. Over 80,000 students visited the country last year. We had 4,000 from the Middle East and around 10,000 health tourists from South Asia” a delegation member said.

High Commissioner of Malaysia to Sri Lanka, Azmi Zainuddin said that there is enormous potential for growth in trade and investment between Sri Lanka and Malaysia which has increased tremendously over the years.

“Trade volume will maintain its upward trend in the years ahead due to the healthy ties and rapid development of the two countries”, Zainuddin said.

A 21- member high powered business delegation from the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia toured the country to explore trade and investment opportunities under an invitation from the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC).CCC Secretary General Harin Malwatte said that around 116 business sectors will hold B-2- B meetings with the Malaysian delegation.

“The renewal of the 20-year-old agreement will open a new chapter in bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The visit of the Malaysian delegation will pave the way for enhanced trade and investment between the two countries”, Malwatte said.

Sri Lanka was admired as a model in the past but due to the conflict and lack of political will slowed down prospects for higher economic growth.

“We are keen to invest in Sri Lanka and develop business partnerships”, a member of the delegation said.

The high bank interest rates and the devalued currency are obstructing large scale investments, a CCC official said.

The recently concluded Sri Lanka Expo 2012 which attracted over 1,300 foreign delegates from over 60 countries,including a 50- member delegation from Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry provided a platform to promote business between Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The visit of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad last year to Sri Lanka was a historic occasion in the bilateral relation between Sri Lanka and Malaysia.The Sri Lana Malaysia Business Council launched many initiatives and provided leadership to a large number of new business ventures since its inauguration in 1994.

 

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