South Africa mulls direct flights to Lanka
Trade potential between South Africa and Sri Lanka is enormous with
the possibility of taking bilateral trade between the two countries to a
new level, said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen
during a meeting with the South African High Commissioner, Geoff Doidge
in Colombo last week.
Both countries agreed to exchange business level delegations.
"To reinvigorate bilateral trade we need to start exchanging business
and industry delegations. As an initial step, I invite South African
business and industry delegations to take part in the EXPO 2012 trade
exhibition organised by the Export Development Board to be held from
March 28 - 30, in Colombo" Minister Bathiudeen said.
Exports from Sri Lanka to South Africa have increased over the past
eight years from $ 10.41m in 2002 to $ 15.6 m in 2009 recording an
increase of 50 percent.
"South Africa plans to establish direct air links with Sri Lanka.
We also like to see a coordinated single window mechanism consisting
of the EDB, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Sri Lanka Customs
to interact as a single point of contact", Doidge said.
He said: "South Africa can introduce its well-known west coast
fishing industry companies to the fishery industry in the North and the
East. We are also willing to invest in the gem and jewellery sector,
fruit and juice processing, and tourism.
South Africa being a top gold and diamond producer in the world, our
potential investments, in Sri Lanka on gem and jewellery, if made, can
go a long way to bolster Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery sector.