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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 101

Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to establish Sri Lanka – Maldives bilateral business council

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 02 June, ( Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC)considering the importance of Business Councils to promote its goals and objectives in bilateral trade and investment, at the request of the Department of Commerce launch the Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council on May 25, 2007. During the last 28 years CCC, has been successfully operating 18 Bilateral Business Councils under its purview and Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council would be 19th Bilateral Business Council. The main objective of this Council would be promotion of trade, investment, joint ventures, tourism and services between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

‘Maldives being the third largest trading partner of Sri Lanka amongst the SAARC Countries accounting for US$ 45.85 Million, had a longstanding need to establish a strong link between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives, to further strengthen its Bilateral trade ties. The request of Ms. Manel De Silva, Director General of the Department of Commerce to the CCC to form the Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council was timely since CCC too had identified Maldives as a potential market and our members too felt that they need a formal linkage to emerge into this market.

Prema Cooray, Secretary General/CEO, CCC saud that they are happy that this originated as a recommendation of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Joint Commission held last year and felt privileged to have honour in forming the Council.

Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives followed by the fisheries sector. Manufacturing of garments, boat building and handicrafts too play a vital role in the Maldivian economy..

With regard to trade between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the balance of trade has been in favour of Sri Lanka during the period 1996 – 2004. This could be attributed to the diversity of Sri Lanka’s exports to Maldives. This trend changed drastically in 2005, plunging down by 58 percent. However, it picked up again in 2006 with Rs. 3,053 Million exports and Rs. 2,444 Million imports.

The main exports to Maldives are textiles & clothing, fruits and vegetables, jewellery, ceramic products and tea. Imports mainly comprised Maldive Fish, Cement Clinkers, Yellow Fin Tuna, Flour, Meals & Pellets of Fish and Frozen Fish. Although Tourism is not considered in arriving at the export figures, Sri Lanka’s presence in this export service is very significant with two large conglomerates in Sri Lanka ( John Keells & Aitken Spence) accounting for almost 10 percent of the hotel room in the Maldives.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, coconut and rubber products, vegetable fats, miscellaneous edible preparations, plastic products have been identified as potential export items with rice being the latest addition to the list. Skilled workers to Maldives is another area which Sri Lanka could explore.

‘The CCC considers this launch as a landmark event since it is coinciding with the visit of . Mohammed Jaleel, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Maldives who will grace this occasion and address the gathering. This launch will be under the chairmanship of Mahen Dayananda, Chairman CCC.

- Asian Tribune -

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