New Delhi: Dr Anura Siriwardena, Secretary, Co - operative and Internal Trade of Sri Lanka, in a roundtable meeting organized by CII on 10 June 2010 in New Delhi, called for “ trade with us, invest with us” to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation between Sir Lanka and India. He said that with the implementation of FTA between the two countries in 2000, bilateral trade has progressed considerably and the two sides must work to achieve a ‘win-win’ situation for mutual advantage in trade and business. The issues impeding the growth in exports or imports must be solved through bilateral talks, said Siriwardane.
Mr Arvind Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce of India said that investment was the growth driver for bilateral cooperation, but it was still a key challenge. Investment possibilities are there and the industries of the two sides should work together to work out proposals to set up businesses, he said. Mr Mehta said that India’s investment in the neighboring countries has been far less in comparison to its investment in the far off countries beyond this region. He said that government of India was willing to extend support and mitigation packages to investors to cover the risk and credit line to expedite the investment.
Mr Mehta called for cooperation in jointly developing hydel and wind power resources in the island country. Sri Lanka being a close neighboring country, the excess power produced in the country could be traded with India through under sea cables.
Mr D HS Jayawardane, Chairman-cum-Managing Director Stassen Group of Companies & Chairman, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation who headed the business delegation from Sri Lankan said that for the first time in the last three decades the business environment in Sri Lanka was very conducive for trade and investment. The political stability in Sri Lanka and the commitment of the leadership provide the business communities of the two countries excellent conditions to work on the new ideas and explore the opportunities for trade, commerce and investment, with out wasting the time.
Mr P Rajendran, Director and COO, NIIT Ltd said that Sri Lanka was an important neighbor and a valuable trade partner of India in South Asia. Since 2000 when the two countries signed FTA, the bilateral trade between the two countries has increased ten fold and it is hoped it would touch $8 billion by 2015. Indian industry was keen that the two countries should expeditiously move towards achieving a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which would play a pivotal role in attaining long-term bilateral goals, he said
The roundtable meeting coinciding with the state visit of President of Sri Lanka, Mr Rajapaksa to India was attended by about forty senior representatives of leading business enterprises of India and Sri Lanka.