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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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SLCSI trade mission to Australia

The Sri Lanka Chamber of Small Industry (SLCSI) has organised a 12 member trade mission to Australia. They will visit Queensland and Tasmania in early April. President of the Chamber Aloy Jayawardene will lead the mission. The mission will call on the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brisbane and the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Hobart.

The program was made possible following the visit of Jayawardene to the two Chambers early last year. Sri Lanka's Consul General in Sydney Ms. Gothami Indikadahena is finalising the program for the mission.

Australia - Sri Lanka commercial relations date back to the late 17th century when Sri Lanka then known as "Ceylon" was one of the 36 countries that participated in the Great International Exhibition in Melbourne in 1888. With the business friendly and investor friendly climate in Sri Lanka since the late 1970's, Australia gradually emerged as one of the prominent development partners with the setting up of over sixty investment projects by the Australian Business Community.

A spokesman for the mission said the present volume of bilateral trade does not reflect its full potential even on a conservative estimate and therefore this trade mission will certainly help achieve a desirable quantum of bilateral trade with benefits accruing to State holders in both countries in an equitable manner.

The visit will add more items of bilateral trade, which is now heavily dependent on tea and milk products. The small and Medium Industries exploring partnerships with Australian partners under this program would contribute in a big way to diversify trade and provide a healthy and steady growth.

The interest of the mission will range from cables for export, import of raw materials for metal industry, export of spices and food products, export of rubber and clay products, pole hardware materials, joint ventures for steel structures and rubber based products. Queensland and Tasmania are two emerging States in Australia with a lot of potential to renew the existing business contacts.

The delegation has selected two major cities to visit in 2008 to conduct meetings with their counterparts and gain first hand information on the trade and market potential. The opportunities to be explored and benefits to be derived from this visit will be enormous and those who visit Australia for the first time may gain vital information on their potential market, the spokesman said.

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