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Diplomats show way forward for Sri Lanka

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Ten diplomats on Tuesday shared their frank views on a wide range of topics as to what they think is the best way forward for Sri Lanka at the packed Fireside Chat 2019 organised by the Daily FT, ICC SL and CIMA at Hilton Colombo.Envoys of UK James Dauris, China Hu Wei, EU Thorsten Bargfrede, Switzerland Hanspeter Mock, Canada David McKinnon, Netherlands Joanne Doornewaard, Malaysia Tan Yang Thai, Bangladesh Riaz Hamidullah Turkey - Tunca Ozcuhadar and Indonesia Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa listed out some of Sri Lanka’s key challenges and recommendations at the first-of-its-kind event.

In the spirit of economic diplomacy inspired by strong bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, the envoys also highlighted the need to reduce taxes, improve governance, develop infrastructure, expand labour force diversity, uplift wealth creation in rural economy, improve ease of doing business ranking and tackle corruption including e-procurement.

They also called to open Sri Lanka with selective or least protectionism to be efficient and competitive to attract Foreign Direct Investment and exports.

The diplomats also said that Sri Lanka has potential to become a regional hub for shipping with further liberalisation and stressed tourism has great upside with sustainability. In addition, they pointed out the need to invest on education and bottom-up approach to develop skills particularly vocational training in all economic sectors.

Further, they outlined on the importance of innovation, research and development (R&D) to strive for excellence in niche products.

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