Italy supporting Sri Lanka's bid to regain GSP Plus facility

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

"Italy is keen on promoting bilateral trade and investment with Sri Lanka; the reason being Sri Lanka is a main emerging market in the Asian region. Therefore, Italy is supporting Sri Lanka in its efforts to regain the European Union's GSP Plus trade facility, Charge D' Affairs at the Italian embassy in Sri Lanka Dr Giandomenico Milano said.

"At present both countries' total value of trade is around US $ 600 million and the balance of trade is overwhelmingly in Sri Lanka's favour. Therefore, we are looking at the possibilities to enter Sri Lanka to promote Italian automobiles and other high tech machinery, Dr. Milano told The Island Financial Review at the 17th Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka-Italy Business Council held last Wednesday at Hilton Colombo Residencies.

He said that Italy, being a European Union country, is carefully looking at the EU decision on granting the GSP Plus to Sri Lanka, which would enhance trade and investment many fold. Today, if the trade and investment improved in both countries, the total value of trade of both countries could touch the US $ one billion mark within a short span of time, he said.

Milano said Italy's automobile industry is highly developed in the EU region. It manufactures top vehicle brands like Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini and many more. "Therefore, Sri Lanka, being an emerging market in the region, could be an ideal market for Italian luxury automobile companies, Milano said."There was a significant increase from 2005 in exports between Sri Lanka and Italy, recording an impressive growth, mainly thanks to the GSP Plus concession. A steady growth of exports could be seen and we hope that such growth in bilateral trade will continue, with industrial and consumer retail customers in Italy, he said.

The leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka during 2015 continued to be the USA, UK, India, Germany and Italy, accounting for about 51 percent of total exports, while the main source of imports continued to be India, China, Japan, UAE and Singapore. They accounted for about 60 percent of total imports, Central Bank sources said.

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