Top league Japanese biz delegation to arrive in Colombo

*Lanka – Japan trade crosses US$ 1.2 bn mark


As Lanka-Japan bilateral trade crossed the huge $ 1.2 Bn mark in 2011, the country is inviting top league Japanese private investments for ‘strong win-win partnerships’, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced.

"As our bilateral trade grows with $ 1.2Bn trade and historic relations are further strengthened, I invite you, the prospective and high level Japanese investors here today, to invest in Sri Lanka for win-win partnerships and also to gain immediate access to the South Asia’s huge market through us," said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 22 November, as quoted in the ministry communiqué.

Bathiudeen was addressing a high level business and investment fact finding mission –cum-delegation from Japan, at the Colombo residence of Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka on the eve of 22 November. Visiting Japanese private sector delegation, one of the biggest such missions from Japan to arrive in Sri Lanka, represented such key sectors as agro, engineering, construction, electronics and industrial equipment, among others. The delegation was facilitated by JETRO Colombo. JETRO officials and reps from Sri Lankan business and corporate sectors were also present during the event. The 30 member strong top tier Japanese investment delegation successfully concluded its Sri Lanka mission and departed the island on the eve of 23 November.

Japan was Sri Lanka’s second largest international donor in 2011. According to the Department of Commerce, Sri Lanka – Japan bilateral trade volumes which stood at $ 753.19 Mn in 2010 rose by 65% to $ 1,249.03 Mn by 2011. Meanwhile, the UNCTAD reported on suddenly increasing Japanese FDI outflows to the world –Japanese ODIs doubled (increased almost by 105.5%) in 2011 to $ 115.6 Bn (from 2010’s $ 56.3 Bn).

"The total bilateral trade turnover between Sri Lanka and Japan now stands at $ 1,249 Mn. Japan has always been a key trading partner as well as a generous donor nation to Sri Lanka. Today, I am pleased to reveal some of the newest investment opportunities in Sri Lanka for you. That is in addition to apparel, IT/BPO services and outsourcing, agriculture, shipping, and logistics, such specific new avenues as motor vehicle assembly, warehousing, deep sea fishing, construction of cold stores, such as call-centres, urban commercial and leisure property development, agro processing and agro technology, marina and marina related commercial property development, fish canning and processing factories, fresh vegetables and fruit exports, tourist transportation and tourist leisure activities could be identified as promising sectors. I invite you for win-win investment partnerships and thereby to gainb immediate access to the South Asia’s huge markets through us" revealed Minister Bathiudeen.

Thereafter, Bathiudeen, speaking in Japanese language to the rousing applause of the excited Japanese nationals and Sri Lankan corporate reps present on the occasion, said: "We thank Nobuhito Hobo for hosting this event and appreciate you for visiting and choosing Sri Lanka for your (next) investments. As Sri Lanka enters a new economic growth phase thanks to the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, new investment opportunities are opening for Japanese investors. Today, we warmly invite you to avail of these latest opportunities."

Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka who graciously hosted the event, addressing gathering, said: "Sri Lanka has a great potential to be an international business hub and for future economic development with its geographically strategic location, skilful and educated labour. Having FTAs with India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka can be a gateway to the huge South Asian markets. However, it is also true that Sri Lanka is exposed to global competition. Much more needs to be done to induce foreign investments. The Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka has tried to the improve business environment in this country through the Government-Private Joint Forum. It is no secret that, strengthening investor confidence is one of the key factors in the investor promotion equation. I wish that the visit of the business delegation will be very fruitful, and that you will be able to identify ‘viable’ business opportunities with the cooperation of the Sri Lankan officials."

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