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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Talks to boost Lanka, India trade

"In recent years India has emerged as one of Sri Lanka's major trading partners."India is already possibly the third or second investing nation in Sri Lanka and a significant number of Sri Lankan enterprises have invested in India.

It is a two-way relationship that has been beneficial to both nations", State Minister of Commerce of India Shri Jairam Ramesh told a media briefing at the Ministry of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion.

With 135 commercial flights a week between Sri Lanka and India, conditions have been created to favour tourist and business traffic between the two countries.

He said that Indians are possibly the second largest group of visitors to Sri Lanka. With an exchange rate that is favourable to them, many Indians have found it attractive to visit the island.

A high-powered delegation headed by Minister Jairam Ramesh, consisting of Senior Government and Business delegates called on Minister for Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr. Sarath Amunugama. Minister of Investment Promotion Navin Dissanayake, Chairman/ Director General of the BOI Dhammika Perera and senior government and private sector officials held discussions with the Indian delegation.

The Indian Government delegation included senior officials such as Alokh Prasad, High Commissioner of India, A. Manickam, Deputy High Commissioner, A. N. Saran, Director, Ministry of Commerce, B. Shyam, Foreign Service, and M. R Rajagopal, from the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

The business delegation comprised senior business personalities from leading Indian private sector companies, some of them listed as Fortune 500 companies. They were Raman Roy CEO of Quatro, S. P Oswal, CMD of Wardham Textiles, Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist of the Aditiya Birla Group, O. P. Puranmalka, Group Executive Director of the Aditiya Birla Group, Naishad Parikh of Arvind Mills, Shanthanu Paul Country Head of Virtusa, R. S. Singhvi, President of Indorama, D. K. Narang, Vice President of L and T. R. Narayan Executive Director of IOC, Sanjay Radkar, President, Lands of Reliance SEZ, Bharat Desai Snr. Executive Vice President of Reliance Industries, Sujit Banerji, President, Reliance Industries, Arun Kumar Nanda, Executive Director Mahindra and Mahindra, Dushan Soza, Head WNS Sri Lanka, and Amit Ruparella, Vice President of TEXTPROCIL.

Dr. Amunugama spoke of the sustained growth of FDI in the country. In 2007, Sri Lanka had achieved US$ 700 million in FDI, the highest ever.

The 2008 target would be US$ 1 billion. He was confident that under the management of Chairman/ Director General Dhammika Perera and the new reforms at the BOI, this figure could be easily achieved.

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