EU Parliamentary delegation visits Katunayake EPZ | Sunday Observer

EU Parliamentary delegation visits Katunayake EPZ

Members of the EU Parliamentary delegation at a factory
Members of the EU Parliamentary delegation at a factory

A delegation comprising six members of the European Parliament visited the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (EPZ) following an invitation by the management of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.

The delegation led by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jan Zahradil comprised Sajjad H. Karim, Paul Rubing, David Martin, David Campbell Bannerman, Ramon Tremosa-i-Balcells, officials of the EU including Martti Kalaus, Andrea Cepova-Fourtoy, Felix Lutz, Ursa Pondelek as well as representatives of the European Union Embassy in Sri Lanka.

The visit was coordinated by Deputy Political, Trade and Commercial section, EU Mission in Colombo Roshan Lyman.

The visit began with a briefing at the BOI Administration office by Acting Executive Director (Zones), M. K. D. Lawrence who spoke on the role of the Export Processing Zones within the BOI.

Thereafter, Ms. Himali Urugodawatte made a presentation on the Katunayake Export Processing Zone. The BOI also arranged for the delegation to visit several factories. The first was to Flintec Transducers (Pvt) Ltd which manufactures sensors used in weighing scales. This company located at KEPZ is a Swedish investment and manufactures advanced components using high technology methods.

This was followed by a visit to Global Sports Sri Lanka (Pvt) Ltd factory which manufactures kites, sails and kite bars. The company is an important player and manufactures for industry leaders such as North Kiteboarding and North Windsurfing.

GSL has a skilled workforce of 650. The company managers told the Parliamentarians that since Sri Lanka is only 8 Degrees North of the Equator, easy access to markets for such products was a key selling point. GSL has supplied 29,000 kites, 13,000 sails and 24,000 kite bars to 46 countries. This company is an Austrian investment and also promotes the leisure sports in Sri Lanka notably in Kalpitiya and in the Eastern Province.

The final visit of the delegation was to the MAS Active Trading (Pvt) Ltd and MAS Kreeda Nirmaana Division which manufactures sportswear and also the designs of sportswear for leading brands.

British MEP for North West England, Sajjad Karim said, “One of the ideas that many in Europe hold is that manufacture is really completed in the West and not done entirely in Asia and in particular countries such as Sri Lanka.

“However, we have seen with our own eyes that this is not the case and that in some instances even R & D is being conducted in Sri Lanka, which implies that new products will be developed here in the future.”

Referring to the MAS Kreeda Nirmaana Division, he said he was reminded of Lancashire in the United Kingdom, where he had grown up,which had once been a leading global center of apparel manufacture. That industry, he said, was now relocated in Asia, in countries such as Sri Lanka and he said that he ”was enthused by seeing high standards of production in Sri Lanka.”

British MEP for Scotland David Martin said, “The Economic Zones of BOI house without doubt the cutting edge of Sri Lanka’s industry but their very high standards should not be an exception. They should be the norm for all industry in the country”. Martin said the factories of BOI which the delegation visited “were clean and dedicated in maintaining high standards and the quality of their products”.