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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha launches EU-SL Investor Dialogue in Colombo

Colombo, 17 July, (Asiantribune.com):

The European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) launched the European Union- Sri Lanka (EU-SL) Investor Dialogue under the patronage of Faizer Mustapha the Deputy Minister and in collaboration with the Board of Investment, on Tuesday 9 July 2013 at the Hilton Colombo Residence.

The representatives of the EU member states based in Colombo, EU Delegation in Sri Lanka, European Investors, ECCSL members, the sponsors of the event and other invitees were present at the launch.
During his keynote address the Deputy Minister stated ….” Certain government policies, some directions need clarity and that clarity could be achieved through dialogue and the European Chamber is very encouraging and has always worked very closely with my ministry, with my minister and me in achieving this. This mechanism, I believe could further strengthen this relationship. I think we have been very inter-active.

H.E. the President believes that the time is right, the need for a separate ministry to encourage investment to this country , that itself is a very encouraging factor, FDI is the way forward for economic prosperity. We believe that if we are to increase our growth rate, we have to take various steps to encourage Foreign Investment into this country and my minister and I have addressed various forums, and we are very interactive and whenever the European Chamber came to us we have had discussions with them. Recently they sought clarity with regard to the land policy - some of the missions met us and we managed to explain in detail the government thinking and the government rationale behind certain decisions. Therefore, we need to work collectively, there are issues in any economy, there are grievances, but I believe that we could work together and there are success stories. I think that some of the European companies are the best success stories – the strength of our economy. Some of them have started as SMEs but today they have reached immense success.

Deputy Minister also added; Quote “…….Traditionally, Europe and Sri Lanka have strong economic and cultural links. Our friendship goes back to centuries, and there have been tangible economics benefits through this relationship. And the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) has been a catalyst in encouraging investment to SL.

For 30 years we had a war and during that period a very few countries wanted to look at us, but certain European companies believed in SL and they reached tangible benefits and SL also had economic growth thanks to the performance of these companies.

EU being the largest trading block is very important to us, for our economy to progress. Then why do you need this Investor Dialogue? At various stages dialogue helps mutually understanding each other better.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, we will work continuously with you all in addressing any of your issues. Don’t hesitate, my minister and I have taken a personal interest in making this dialogue a success. Therefore, if any company has any issue, kindly use this dialogue as the mechanism as I believe a lot of people do not use these channels. And the European Chamber, I must commend, you have been very. Active, very progressive and you have helped us also drive in it, in motivating us in certain areas and also government policy. Every entity, every nation gets the same status with regard to investment. Therefore, I think the message is very clear that there is great potential in European companies in investing in SL. I was in Switzerland 2 weeks ago, addressed a forum there, it was very encouraging , I saw a lot of potential to promote investment to this region, especially if you take the tourism sector, our traditional market is a European sector. So I think we need to promote more investment to this sector.

Please use this dialogue, and thru this dialogue I am sure, we could increase the investment into this country. Also whatever your frustrations are or whatever your issues, I believe this dialogue would be a good vehicle”. Unquote

In November 2012, the ECCSL in collaboration with the EU-SL Business Council in Brussels, Belgium launched the EU-SL Business Dialogue. This paved the way for numerous dialogues taking place with the European Union (EU) - Member States representations, European Investors and Sri Lankan businesses to explore joint venture partnerships.

With launch of the EU-SL Investor Dialogue today (Tuesday 9th July), the ECCSL will play a catalyst role in investment promotion with the support of the Board of Investment. Towards this objective, the ECCSL together with the BOI will hold monthly dialogue meetings with the European investors and their partners.

The objective of these meetings is to facilitate a regular dialogue, identify barriers and constraints faced by the European investors and their partners, and find solutions with the support of the BOI.

The same constitution of the stakeholders will meet with the Deputy Minister of Investment and Promotion Hon. Faiszer Musthapha on a quarterly basis in order to address the constraints and find solutions and extend the ministry’s guidance to constraints. The stakeholders will also meet with Hon. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena on a bi-annual basis.

THonhe ECCSL and the key stakeholders are of the view that the Ministry of Investment Promotion and the Board of Investment (BOI) play a vital role, not only in attracting foreign investment to Sri Lanka, but also in retaining the foreign investment already present in the country. In this context, the reinstatement of the Ministry of Investment and Promotion gives positive signals to the prospective foreign investors. The ECCSL has carried out numerous discussions with the Ministry of Investment and Promotion; and encouraging and supporting discussions have taken place with Hon. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Hon. Faizer Musthapha and the Board of Investment towards working in collaboration to foster foreign direct investment, and enhancing the investment climate in Sri Lanka from a European perspective.

The ECCSL is positive that its initiative would facilitate the European investors in numerous ways to explore the possibilities to invest in Sri Lanka, and it hopes to expand its services towards contributing to Sri Lanka’s investment and business environment.

The European Investors in Sri Lanka are encouraged to be an integral part of this initiative on a long-term basis. This initiative is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment and Promotion and the BOI. The event partner for the launch of the EU-SL Investor Dialogue is Qatar Airways.

ECCSL’s Board member Mr. Anurag Kak, CEO of Mahaweli Lafarge Cement Pvt Ltd delivered the welcome address. Mr. Roshan Lyman Head of Trade of the European Union Delegation in Sri Lanka also addressed the gathering .

- Asian Tribune -

Faizer Mustapha the Deputy Minister
Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha launches EU-SL Investor Dialogue in Colombo
Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha launches EU-SL Investor Dialogue in Colombo
Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha launches EU-SL Investor Dialogue in Colombo
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