Following the successful Iranian Trade and
Business Exhibition that was held in Colombo recently, a number
of business opportunities have arisen as a result of the event.
This exhibition succeeded in showcasing a wide range of products
made and services produced or offered by companies in the
Islamic Republic of Iran. The result of this was the signing of
a MOU between a Sri Lankan and an Iranian company for the
manufacture of a variety of boats.
The Chief Guest at this event was Dr Sarath
Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment
Promotion who actively promoted Sri Lankan- Iranian economic
ties. Minister Amunugama had held discussion with the Iranian
Minister of Commerce Massoud Mir Kassem, to examine ways to
promote greater economic ties between the Governments and more
importantly, the private sectors of Sri Lanka and Iran.
Dr Amunugama spoke of the growing ties between
the two countries and said that next month, President
Ahmedinajad of Iran was to make Sate Visit to Sri Lanka. Iran
was going to support Sri Lanka on the construction of the Uma
Oya project, a 28 km tunnel that will bring water from the
Central Highlands to the Hambantota District. Iran was emerging
as one of Sri Lanka's major economic partners in trade and
possibly investment in the future.
Commenting on the project Minister Amunugama
said that yachting, as a leisure activity had not really
developed in the Subcontinent in contrast with East Asia and the
Persian Gulf areas. Sri Lanka was very much dependent on land
based tourism; thought steps had been taken inn areas such as
whale watching. The construction of yachts in Sri Lanka offered
potential to upgrade the Sri Lankan tourism industry by offering
high end products.
Channa Palansuriya, Member of The BOI Board of
Directors signed the MOU on behalf of the BOI. The event, which
was co-ordinated and facilitated by the Board of Investment of
Sri Lanka, was also an opportunity to create joint ventures
between private sector establishment of Sri Lanka and Iran.
One such example of the new co-operation was the
signing of a MOU for a joint venture between Fulton Yachts
International of Iran and FRP Services & Co (Lanka) Ltd to
manufacture various types of boats/crafts in Sri Lanka. FRP
Services & Co has exported boats to the Maldives, Dubai, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
The MOU was signed on 1st February 2008 at 11 am
at the Hilton Hotel by P.S (Dudley) Fernando, Chairman of FRP
Services & Co and by Ali Zamani Nasser, Managing Director and
Vice president of Fulton Yachts International of Tehran, Iran.
Ali Zamani Nasser was upbeat about the visit to
Sri Lanka, adding that it had been most fruitful. Fulton Yachts
was able to gauge first hand the potential Sri Lanka offered.
Adding that Sri Lanka can do with the sea and it was a good
opportunity for technology sharing between the two countries. He
was confident that relations would be further expanded.
The main organizer of the exhibition
Shariatmadari concluded by stating that relations between the
two countries would expand further. One area that showed a lot
of potential was tourism in both directions. About 10 Iranian
tour operators had been present in Sri Lanka during the recent
exhibition and what was needed was a direct air link between the
two countries in the near future.
The project will cover the manufacture of
different kinds of boats including vessels for fishing,
pleasure, leisure, passenger and fast inshore boats. The project
which will be located at Hendala, Wattala, will be investment of
US$ 500,000.The project will create employment opportunities for
300-500 workers in Sri Lanka.