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Sunday, 22 May 2011

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Malta hints at cost advantage for Eurozone entry

New Delhi based visiting Malta High Commissioner for India and Sri Lanka, Theresa Cutajar met Minister of Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

In the new era of development, Sri Lanka is open to receive more foreign investment.

We encourage Malta to specially enter the sectors of construction, value added tea, prefabricated building materials, gem and jewellery, and leather products among others, Bathiudeen said.

Theresa Cutajar is the first High Commissioner from Malta to present credentials in Sri Lanka. Cutajar hinted that Malta has the cost advantage opportunity to enter Eurozone, much needed by Sri Lanka.

"The economies of Sri Lanka and Malta are complimentary and I believe that we can work out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost our bilateral trade relations", said Cutajar.

Perhaps setting up garment manufacturing facilities in Malta may give Sri Lanka the needed cost (competitive) advantage for the European markets.

Sri Lanka can use Malta as a hub to enter no less than 27 European economies and even the North African countries which are nearby.

We encourage manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, ICT and financial industry firms who are looking at Eurozone to invest in Malta, she said.

Minister Bathiudeen said that even without special tariff concessions, Sri Lanka's apparel industry competes well in Europe due to its high quality.

"I am given to understand that Malta is pursuing a policy of gradual economic liberalisation allowing a greater role for market forces, which makes it possible for partnership between the two countries.

As you may be already aware, Sri Lanka also has an open economy with a liberal international trade policy which Malta can make use of".

Sri Lanka is open for investment specially in the sectors of construction, tea in value added form, processed vegetables and fruits, prefabricated building materials, tents, sails for boats, activated carbon, gem and jewellery, leather products and ceramics and porcelain.

A Eurozone economy, Malta's well trained workers and low labour costs helped it to earn the reputation of a manufacturing hub for the rest of Europe. In addition to manufacturing, its economy depends on tourism and trade.

Sri Lanka continues to report a positive trade balance with Malta. The total trade turnover with Malta was US $ 1.85 million last year.

"I believe that the present small bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Malta shows huge unrealised potential for further trade expansion between the two countries and I invite Malta to enhance bilateral trade cooperation further", Minister Bathiudeen said.

 

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