Top companies to explore opportunities:
US positive about Lankan economy
The United States has expressed positive sentiments about Sri Lanka
and top US multinational companies are keen to explore opportunities for
trade and investment in the country, said President American Chamber of
Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM), Vijaya Ratnayake.
He said USA is positive about the Sri Lankan economy and hails its
achievements in the short span following the end of the terrorism two
“A conducive business environment, opportunities in the North and the
East, incentives to foreign investors and international trade fairs will
encourage global companies to set up ventures in Sri Lanka “ Ratnayake
The United States has recognised the potential for trade and
investment in Sri Lanka and is eager to develop business between the two
countries. These sentiments have been endorsed on many occasions by
various statements made by US officials and visiting business
The potential for business in Sri Lanka was emphasised at discussions
held last October and recently during a high level delegation’s visit
from the United States with representatives from Boeing, John Deere,
Coca Cola, AECOM, Transinnova, AGL Partners and Venture Global Partners.
Ratnayake said representatives of the companies held discussions with
officials on exploring opportunities for trade and investment in the
country. Sri Lanka should make best use of this opportunity to promote
trade and investment.
US President Barack Obama recently launched the National Export
Initiative whereby the US hopes to double its exports by 2015. The
objective of the initiative is to increase the US Government’s outreach
to facilitate exports by its SME’s providing them more export
Ratnayake said the US export initiative would be an ideal opportunity
for Sri Lankan businesses to import goods manufactured to high standards
and strict quality controls by regulations laid down by the Federal
Ratnayake said the US has the unparalled capacity to meet our need
for capital goods, high tech needs and equipment. Sri Lanka will gain by
identifying goods and services from USA which would be beneficial by way
of quality, price and long term value and thereby help reduce the trade
The US-Sri Lanka trade deficit has been in favour of Sri Lanka. US
exports to Sri Lanka in January this year were $ 17.3 million while
imports were $ 170.3. In the following month exports were US$ 30.2
million while imports were $ 154.6 million.
Sri Lanka’s exports to the United States last year were $ 1,747
million while imports were $ 178 million creating a trade deficit of $
1,568.9 million in favour of Sri Lanka.
The United States is Sri Lanka’s most important single-country market
and in 2010 around 21 percent of exports were to the USA. The USA is Sri
Lanka’s second largest market for garments accounting for almost 40
percent of the total garment exports.
Sri Lanka exports apparel and clothing, rubber based products,
precious and semi precious stones, tea, coffee, mate and spices,
plastics, fish and crustaceans, electrical machinery and equipment to
USA and imports aircraft, spacecraft and parts, cereals, machinery,
mechanical appliances, cotton, electrical machinery, equipment, man-made
filaments, paper and paperboard, plastics and knitted or crocheted
fabrics from USA.
The number of tourists from USA has increased by 29 percent from
January to March this year compared to the corresponding period last
year. The number of arrivals from USA during the first three months this
year is 5,800 while last year it was 4,476.
“Sri Lanka has always exported more value to the US than we have
imported. We need to bridge this gap in the long term. The reason for
the deficit is not price or quality related in most cases but rather
lack of awareness among buyers and sellers of both countries”, Ratnayake
Ratnayake said AMCHAM is committed to strengthen bilateral economic
relations and increase trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the
AMCHAM has 300 members of leading Sri Lankan companies doing business