Seated (from left): Deputy High Commissioner for Australia in Sri Lanka Tim Huggins, SLANZBC/Millers Vice President Delano Dias, SLANZBC/Jiffy Products SL Vice President Ruwan Rajapakse, SLANZBC/Infotechs Vice President Ramya Weerakoon, Patron SLANZBC-Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson, SLANZBC/Qantas Airways President Gerard Victoria, SLANZBC/The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Secretary Cherryl Rodrigo, Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in New Zealand Aruna Abeygoonesekera, Patron SLANZBC – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dhara Wijeyatilake, Immediate Past President – SLANZBC/Glolan International Manjula Lanerolle and Vice President – SLANZBC/Atlas Axillia Co. Nuwan Wimalana, Standing (from left): Shameel Javahd (By invitation – SLANZBC/AusTrade), AXINTL Committee member Satheeka Kavisekera, Committee Member – SLANZBC/ Eduko Lanka Dr. Dhananjaya Kulkarni, Committee Member – SLANZBC/International Distilleries Sumith Law, Committee Member – SLANZBC/Abans Dr. Saroshi Dubash, Committee member – SLANZBC/Dart Global Logistics S. Mohandas , Alternate – SLANZBC/Westmann Engineering Co. Fazi Moojood, Committee member – SLANZBC/Guruge Gems Dulani Guruge, Not in the picture: Senaka Silva (By invitation – SLANZBC/ Honorary Consul for New Zealand), Committee Member – SLANZBC / 99X Technology Mano Sekeram, Committee Member – SLANZBC/Fonterra Brands Lanka Janaka Gallage, Committee Member – SLANZBC/John Keells Holdings Jit Gunaratne, Committee Member – SLANZBC/Microcells Nazvi Hassan, and Committee member – SLANZBC/Tapbrobane Seafoods Timothy O’ Reilly
The Sri Lanka-Australia-New Zealand Business Council (SLANZBC) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently held their 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Movenpick Hotel in Colombo, electing Gerard Victoria – Director/ General Manager of Qantas Airways Ltd. as the President of the council. Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson and Honorary Consul of New Zealand in Colombo Senaka Silva graced the occasion as Chief Guests while Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Wellington, New Zealand Aruna Abeygoonesekara attended as the Guest of Honour.
Addressing the gathering, Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson underscored the recent visit of Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and expressed the importance of her meeting with the Sri Lankan President, Prime Minister and her local counterpart. He also noted that Australian Monash University has partnered with Sri Lankan Ministry of Health to combat dengue fever, in addition to funding a WHO program dealing with the current crisis.
“In all these meetings, and her meeting with Opposition Leader Sampanthan, Minister Bishop stressed the need for Sri Lanka to implement its reconciliation agenda. She noted this would form the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s future wellbeing and prosperity and was in Sri Lanka’s own best interests. And she stressed that Australia would stay a supportive partner,” Hutchesson said.
Australian High Commissioner further elaborated that, in 2016 Australia has made A$440 million in merchandise trade and A$542 in services trade, adding up to a total of A$982 million two way trade. In addition, bilateral trade relations have noticeably grown in the services side, where Australia’s services exports to Sri Lanka has grown 18.6% last year, and Sri Lanka’s services exports to Australia has grown 19.4%.
Newly elected President of the SLANZBC Gerard Victoria in his address thanked the outgoing President Manjula Lanerolle and his committee for their outstanding service. Expressing his views, he further added, “With the introduction of the Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in New Zealand and the close network we have with the Sri Lankan Missions in Australia, and with a new Committee, the SLANZBC is looking forward to the cooperation of its membership and hope to further consolidate ties with the High Commission of Australia and New Zealand Consul in Sri Lanka. I strongly believe our close ties will continue to strengthen our journey.”
Commenting on the occasion, outgoing President of the council Manjula Lanerolle from Glolan International noted, “SLANZ Business Council is steadily focusing towards developing a clearer position on trade and investment between Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand via relevant stakeholders of the three states. This is especially important at a time when Sri Lanka is aiming to become a regional and global Hub for trade and industry, and is vying to attract big global brands and headquarters of international firms.” Lanerolle further emphasised that three product categories account for 72% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to Australia, while three product categories account for 83% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to New Zealand. Two product categories account for 65% of Sri Lanka’s total imports from Australia, while a single category in other words dairy account for 93% of Sri Lanka’s total imports from New Zealand.
Manjula Lanerolle of Glolan International will serve as the Immediate Past President of the council. Ruwan Rajapakse, Ramya Weerakoon, Nuwan Wimalana and Delano Dias were appointed as Vice Presidents.
Several companies were elected to serve in the SLANZBC committee for the upcoming year 2017-2018 including 99X Technology, Abans Ltd., AGXINTL Ltd., Atlas Axillia Co. Ltd., Dart Global Logistics Ltd., Eduko Lanka Ltd., Fonterra Brands Lanka, Infotechs Ltd., Jiffy Products SL Ltd., John Keells Holdings PLC., Microcells Ltd., Millers Ltd. of Cargills Group, Taprobane Seafoods Ltd., and Westmann Engineering Co. Ltd.