SL-Kuwait talks stress bigger role for private sector | Sunday Observer

SL-Kuwait talks stress bigger role for private sector

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (second from left) and Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait Khaled Nasser Al-Roudan (right) exchange documents. Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Kuwait B. Kaandeepan (far left) and Kuwaiti officials (at right) look on.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (second from left) and Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait Khaled Nasser Al-Roudan (right) exchange documents. Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Kuwait B. Kaandeepan (far left) and Kuwaiti officials (at right) look on.

The second session of Kuwait-Sri Lanka Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) held in Kuwait concluded on a positive note, Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka (DoC) officials said on Friday.

A bigger role for the private sectors of both sides - with a pioneering Chamber to Chamber MoU - is now envisioned, according to DoC.Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait Khaled Nasser Al-Roudan said Kuwait-Sri Lanka relations had always been cordial and mutually supportive.

“JMC should be a useful platform to further enhance such relations while addressing any issues encountered by the private sector businesses of the two countries,” he said.

Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen said, “The support extended by Kuwait to date are through funds on concessionary basis to develop irrigation, agriculture, education, power, energy and highways in Sri Lanka.”

He highlighted the importance of exploring untapped potential of both countries for the purpose of further enhancing their economic relations. The current value of two-way trade between Sri Lanka and Kuwait stands around US $ 50 mn.

While Sri Lanka’s exports to Kuwait averages close to US $ 33 mn., its imports from Kuwait remains about US $ 17 Mn. The key Sri Lankan exports to the Kuwaiti market include black tea, edible preparations, desiccated coconut and coconut milk powder, fruits and vegetables and foliaged plants/cut flowers.

Sri Lanka’s imports from Kuwait primarily include plastics and articles thereof, organic chemicals, paper and paperboard, mineral & chemical fertilizer, and polymers of ethylene. The number of tourist arrival from Kuwait stood around 4,300 in 2017. Kuwaiti investment in Sri Lanka remains insignificant at present.The JMC discussions focused on a wide range of cooperation areas such as trade, economic and financial, investment, labour and manpower, industry, tourism, agriculture and development.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further advance and consolidate Kuwait-Sri Lanka trade and economic ties through a number of initiatives that would involve closer engagement of the private sector. The two sides agreed to facilitate an MoU for strengthening cooperation between the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

Nimal Karunatilake, Acting Additional Director General of the Department of Commerce lead the Sri Lankan team, while the Kuwaiti side was headed by Dr. Khaled Al-fathel, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Sri Lanka delegation comprised Minister Bathiudeen, B. Kaandeepan, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Kuwait and senior officials from the Department of External Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and officials from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait.

On the side-lines of the Joint Committee meeting, Minister Bathiudeen met his counterpart Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce & Industry, Kaled Nasser Al-Roudhan and the President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ali M. Thunaian Al-Ghanim for separate discussions.

The two Ministers highlighted the cordial relations that have been prevailing between the two countries over a long period of time and the mutual support extended during various international fora.

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