BOI hosted a delegation from the Kansai region of Japan which consisted of many Japanese multinational companies. The delegation which was on a fact finding mission was led by Masuyuki Matsushita, Vice Chairman and Chairman International Committee of Kansai Economic Federation, Kankeiren, and also Vice Chairman of the Board of Panasonic Corporation.
The delegation also consisted of Senior Executives of the Kansai Economic Federation, representatives of JICA, as well as well-known Japanese corporations such as Takenaka Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Hitachi Zosen Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Dailan Industries and Mitsui and Co.
Also present at the meeting was Waste Management Authority Chairperson Ruwini Dharmasiri.
BOI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya welcomed the delegation. He spoke of the longstanding friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. Sri Lanka’s modern relations with Japan go back to the San Francisco Conference of 1946, when Ceylon’s delegate J.R. Jayewardene took a strong stand, quoting Buddhist texts, asking for Japan to be forgiven and reintegrated into the family of nations.
He added that there had been mutual support each time either Sri Lanka or Japan had experienced difficulties such as Tsunamis. Jayasuriya welcomed Japanese investments In Sri Lanka stating that the country is very business friendly and was engaged in efforts to move up in the Doing Business Index.
JICA Advisor to BOI Kaizo Tsuchiya said in Japanese, “BOI is the main agency to contact should you wish to start projects in Sri Lanka. BOI can provide you with the best information also it has very strong ties with all Sri Lankan Line Agencies. Please visit the BOI individually and we are ready to guide you personally.”
The delegation was briefed on the advantages to invest in Sri Lanka by Renuka Weerakone, Executive Director (Investment Promotion) of the BOI. Champika Malalgoda, Executive Director (Research and Policy Advocacy) of the BOI also did a presentation which covered Sri Lanka’s Trade Relations and the advantageous Free Trade Agreements that Sri Lanka has entered into with India and Pakistan. These agreements, will provide access to enter large South Asian markets to Japanese Companies should they decide to invest in Sri Lanka.
Another presentation on the environmental status of Sri Lanka and energy conservation policy was conducted by Sherine Perera, Director (Environment) of the BOI. The subject of ‘Environmental changes and opportunities available to Japanese Investors’ was covered by Nalin Mannapperuma, Director, Waste Management Authority of Sri Lanka.
The Japanese side also briefed BOI on the Kansai Economic Federation which is Japan’s largest economic area, encompassing Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. This area has a population of nearly 21 million and a gross regional product of $ 936 billion. (2012).
Kansai area in economic, terms is comparable in GDP volume to Indonesia and larger than many independent states such as Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Kansai has extensive trade relations with Asia and in particular, China but also has close ties with the European Union and the United States.
Sri Lanka’s imports from the Kansai region goods are worth $ 1.2 billion and include used cars, machinery including power generating and textile machines, textiles and fabric and electrical machinery. Sri Lankan exports to the Kansai region good worth $ 0.2 billion and are mainly fish and tuna products, clothing and accessories and rubber manufactured products.
Hence this meeting is very important as it provided an opportunity for these companies which are multinationals and world leaders in their respective sectors to truly understand the potential that Sri Lanka can offer Japanese Enterprises. This visit follows a recent investment promotion mission by the BOI to Japan and reflects the growing ties between Sri Lanka and Japan in the fields of Investment and Trade.