February 17, 2016 08:20 am
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will make an official visit to Sri Lanka next week to highlight the growing commercial and political ties between the two countries, The NZ Govt said today.
Key will meet with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as well as speak with a number of local businesspeople to promote New Zealand’s interests in the region.
He will also lead a business delegation to focus on the significant opportunities to diversify trade between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, which stood at $324m in 2015.
“Sri Lanka has a growing middle class which offers New Zealand businesses a range of exciting opportunities,” Key says.
“We have a 45 year dairy trade history, but commercial relationships are extending further with more and more of our businesses recognising Sri Lanka as a potential market for high-quality New Zealand services and products.”
The visit will be Key’s second to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister, having travelled there in 2013 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
It will also provide an opportunity for Key to witness the progress that Sri Lanka has made in recent years as it recovers from its decades-long civil war, a release from the NZ Govt added.
“New Zealand recognises the considerable efforts the people and Government of Sri Lanka are putting into the country’s reconciliation process and we are hugely supportive of those, including through our work to boost the country’s own dairy sector to improve the livelihoods of its farmers,” Key says.
While in the capital Colombo, Key will also chair a meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Democrat Union. Key will be in Sri Lanka from 24-26 February.