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Sunday, 14 August 2016

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Indo-Lanka trade to cross $5 b mark

As year-on-year bilateral levels surged by 6.3%, overall trade volumes between India and Sri Lanka too have increased to USD 4.91 billion.

"We are about to reach an important turning point in our bilateral trade history-that is to cross the USD 5 billion mark," Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen said at the fifth edition of the Indo-Ceylon Economic Dialogue (ICE dialogue-5) organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and industry of Sri Lanka and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Minister Rishad Bathiudeen

Deputy Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Arindam Bagchi, delegates from the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka Sarath Kahapalarachchi were also present. "Sri Lanka and India hope to expand the existing trade mechanism into a much wider engagement as called by the highest levels of administration. Both countries are now ready to cross the $5 billion mark in bilateral trade. This promising trade growth was seen on a year-on-year basis even last year were bilateral trade grew by 6.3 percent to arrive at this $ 4.9 billion," he said.

"We also notice significant demand from India for certain Sri Lankan products during the last five years. These include nuts and seeds, pepper, boats and ships, as well as our leading export brand, apparels. In the past five years, our nuts and seed exports to India increased by almost 35 times, pepper increased by three times to $ 85 million. Our Ship and boat exports increased by nearly three times to $57 million and our apparel exports to India doubled to $ 30 million by 2015," the Minister said. On the investment side, from 2005 to 2015 September, the total Indian investment volume in Sri Lanka has come close to $ 800 million. "We have been given to understand that more Indian private sector FDIs of one billion dollars are in the pipeline. FDI movements have become bilateral and some Sri Lankan FDIs have moved to India as well," Minister Bathiudeen said.

"From the countries that supplied equity to India in the last 16 years Sri Lanka ranks as the 53rd country. As of March this year, Sri Lanka's investments in India totalled USD 40 million. Sri Lanka's investments in India stands above investments by such countries as Portugal, Kuwait, Jordan, and some African countries," he said.

Among Sri Lankan firms invested in India and are doing well are MAS, Orange Electricals, and Damro. Indian Deputy High Commissioner Bagch said that in the aftermath of recent political changes in both countries, there is renewed optimism in investment and trade on both sides.

"A high level Indian delegation is headed to Colombo in October and we are looking to re-formulate Indo Lanka CEO Forum when they are in Colombo. As for our bilateral relations, after the FTA was signed, Indo-Lanka relations heavily focused on economic relations. Indian exports to Sri Lanka increased by 10 times while two-thirds of Sri Lankan exports make use of FTA benefits,"he said.

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