We have laid the foundation for greater things to come - Sujeewa
May 5, 2016 09:31 pm
Minister Malik Samarawickrama says that the government is now in the process of reversing the legacy of a policy framework which disproportionately favored producing for Sri Lanka’s small domestic market as against selling to regional or global markets.
“We have clearly had a deeply misguided set of policies when one considers that Sri Lanka’s domestic market amounts to only about 20 million people,” he said addressing an event in Colombo today (05).
The Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade said the government’s priority now is to build a framework which accelerated growth for a decade or more and creates higher value employment through invigorating the country’s export performance.
He said that they believe the lifting of the EU fisheries ban on Sri Lanka will be in place by the end of this month or early June and that the government hopes of getting back GSP+ by the end of this year.
Samarawickrama stated that the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India and a comprehensive agreement with China should also be in place by the end of this year or early next year.
Trade and investment with the United Stated is also being enhanced through a 5-year action plan under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement which was signed just recently.
“At the same time we are also considering FTAs with Singapore, Malaysia and Turkey,” he said at the event, to officially announcing Sri Lanka as the venue for the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2016 to be held on October 12 and 13, 2016.
State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, said that within a short period of time the government has caught the attention of the world.
He stated that the World Export Development Forum, part of International Trade Centre (ITC), would give Sri Lanka immense popularity and that it would draw world’s attention to the island nation.
He stated that the government is hoping to get a prominent person as the head speaker of the forum and that the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma and the founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson are being considered.
“We are trying to get one of these gentlemen as our head speaker,” the State Minister of International Trade said.
He stated that the WEDF 2016 has given a lot of attention to Sri Lanka, which will be the focal point.
Senasinghe said it was an African country that held the same seminar last year and that this year they have got the Economic Forum. “So our target is to have the Economic Forum next year in Sri Lanka.”
He stated that the government has got rid of the EU fisheries ban and has now started negotiating to get the GSP+.
The State Minister said that they are attempting to increase the country’s Rs 11 billion mark of exports to about Rs 25 billion by the end of 2017 or mid-2018 and that all industries including tourism will grow.
“We have laid the foundation for greater things to come in the future. Within 6 months we have achieved a lot and we have shown that this is a new country.”
“No commissions. No kickbacks.” All what we want from the foreign investor is foreign direct investment, new technology, creating jobs here in Sri Lanka and the generation of income in Sri Lanka, he added.
“I think this is a good foundation for us and the world’s eyes will be on us in October,” he said.