Faiszer woos investments, trade in Brussels biz meetings

Saturday, 1 March 2014 06:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Deputy Minister for Investment Promotion, Faiszer Musthapha spent two days in Brussels meeting potential business investors and politicians from across Europe. He told packed meetings of Wallonian and Flemish business people that he would facilitate partnerships personally to ensure that projects were taken forward to a successful conclusion. He also pledged to handle any red tape that slowed progress down. The companies queuing up to speak to the Minister about potential opportunities ranged from renewable energies to dredging and reclamation of ports, steel construction to cleantech. Over the two days the Deputy Minister had several meetings with commission officials in the DG Enterprise and Trade. Minister Musthapha reinstated his sole and primary interest which comprised primarily of European Missions was based on Europe’s current investment on ground and the identified potential thus far untapped by Sri Lanka. The EU Sri Lanka Business Council and European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka’s invitation came at an ideal point; which complemented the interests of the Ministry of Investment Promotions forward strategy. He was able to discuss SME internationalisation and missions for growth stressing that he would personally leave no stone unturned to ensure that trade with Europe, Sri Lanka’s biggest trading partner, goes from strength to strength. He was told by the DG Trade that the withdrawal of GSP plus was not to intended to be a punitive measure and that the door was left open for re-entry if Sri Lanka could show it matched the criteria. Minister Musthapha affirmed that the message will be relayed back to the relevant representing entities in Sri Lanka and further made note that the withdrawal of GSP Plus had its effects on both the European manufacturing investors and Sri Lanka exporters. The Minister further re-iterated at many occasions when questioned with regards to the nearing UN resolution on Sri Lanka that such a measure would not serve the majority of the Sri Lankan population in Sri Lanka. It will set back Sri Lanka and all the efforts carried out by the Government of Sri Lanka within the short span of five years. Minister Musthapha reinstated the commitment that the Government of Sri Lanka has made toward rebuilding the nation. Over $ 300 million was disbursed by the Government of Sri Lanka for development efforts in the north and east. Such initiatives and programs as the national policy framework for social integration should be given due visibility in the international fora. Minister Musthapha had several meetings with MEPs from across Europe. It is clear that Sri Lanka has many friends who want the best for the country and its people. However the message was clear; more needs to be done to ensure that the many positive messages are heard loud and clear. As he left Brussels the Minister was encouraged by the show of support and offers of help from MEPs to host trade forums in their own countries to promote opportunities in Sri Lanka but he also left aware that there is much work to be done. The program was organised by the Ministry of Investment Promotion in collaboration with the EU Sri Lanka Business Council, the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Brussels, Belgium.