France to send a special
delegation to Sri Lanka Expo 2012

French business and industry chamber is planning to send a special delegation to Sri Lank Expo 2012, the mega export show to be held in March 2012 in Colombo. It also wants French firms in Colombo to rally their support for this event, said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.

Minister Bathiudeen revealed this after his successful meeting with the Pierre-Antoine Gailly, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris (CCIP) (and also the President of the Union of Chamber of Commerce and Industry French Abroad or UCCIFE), and Jean lou Blachier, Vice Chairman of CCIP and delegation of Seine Saint Denis, today (Nov 16) in the Chamber Building, Paris.

The CCIP represents interests of more than 300,000 corporations in Paris that contribute to one fifth of France’s GDP.

Bathiudeen is currently leading a Sri Lanka business delegation on a five day tour to France, Belgium and Netherlands. The delegation includes Director General/Sri Lanka Export Development Board Sujatha Weerakoon and representatives from the private sector.

Briefing the Paris Chamber, Bathiudeen said that under the able leadership of Mahinda Rajapakse, the President of Sri Lanka, the present government together with the entire country including North and East is now gearing for economic resurgence and development. "Sri Lanka has shown a steady growth from 2010 onwards" Minister Bathiudeen said.

Inviting French industry and business community to Sri Lanka’s mega export show Sri Lank Expo 2012, Bathiudeen said: "Sri Lanka Expo 2012 is the mega international level trade exhibition to be held in Colombo after a lapse of 14 years. More than 300 exhibitors will display their products and services including the world’s best gem including Ceylon Sapphire, the world’s best spices including Ceylon Cinnamon, Services like IT/ BPO, the best fishery products and exotic fruits and vegetables and new industries like boat building. We invite high participation from France".

"EU region including France is a very important market for Sri Lanka with more than 35% of our products exported to EU and France is the 6th largest market in the EU for Sri Lanka. We wish to consolidate such markets by improving bilateral trade between the two countries and through further French investments in Sri Lanka. Though Sri Lanka is a small market it could be used as a gateway to enter into bigger markets such as India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. Sri Lanka has several trade agreements between such countries where you could obtain preferential access through value addition in Sri Lanka."

Responding to Bathiudeen, Pierre-Antoine Gailly said France will give its fullest support to organize a potential business delegation for Sri Lanka EXPO 2012. "I request Sri Lanka to make use of testimonials of French companies who are already in Sri Lanka to promote the mega expo event of 2012" he added.

According to the Department of Commerce, Sri Lanka-France bilateral trade stood at US$ 309.88 Mn during 2010. Sri Lanka’s exports to France have been increasing during last six years except in 2009. Apparels and clothing accessories have been the main export item from Sri Lanka to France accounting for 59.39% of total exports in 2010 followed by Fish fillets, bicycles and other cycles, articles of vulcanized rubber, Frozen Fish, and pneumatic tyres.

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