French business team in town

Thursday, 17 March 2011 00:31 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Economic Department of the French Embassy in New Delhi have taken the initiative to encourage French companies based in India to join an official and business mission in Sri Lanka.

The purpose of this mission currently in Colombo is to invite the French subsidiaries in India to explore the investment opportunities to contribute to the economic development of Sri Lanka.

The French business delegation which comprises nine business people representing seven large scale companies from France will meet members of the Government, senior officials and private counterparts. Their core activity spans from infrastructure (Veolia: transport, environment, energy efficiency; Systra: urban and intercity rail transport, EDF: power generation, transport, distribution; Freyssinet Meynard: cable stays technology for bridges and other structures) to oil (Total), hospitality (Accor) and financial services (BNP Paribas).

Along with the French delegation, the South Asia Head for French Development Agency (AFD),  a public owned financial institution engaged in financing projects contributing to a “green and inclusive growth”, will reiterate its support to the country requirements.

Following the business mission, the Economic counselors from the different French Embassies in South Asia will hold their annual regional meeting in the city of Colombo.

France welcomes the recent positive economic developments in Sri Lanka, in particular regarding fiscal policy including an ambitious tax reform. French companies will have a special interest in assessing the contribution of these measures but also other incentives to facilitate their investment, sale or lending decisions. They will also look at the global scenario for business environment, like good governance, timely decision process making, adequate infrastructure, financial capacity and growth perspectives.

Two way trade between Sri Lanka and France is ramping up with 127 million Euros export from France (40% telecom and high end technologies, 11% pharma and chemicals) and 186 million Euros import from Sri Lanka (46% garments, the rest mainly with agricultural products). French companies with investment in Sri Lanka employ almost 4, 000 people. With hardly 1% market share, it is France’s endeavour to improve her footprint in Sri Lanka served by a skilled population.

The French Development Agency (AFD) active in financing roads, water projects, energy projects in Sri Lanka and the French ministry of finance funding health or water projects, France bet on a sustainable development.

Jean Leviol, Minister Counsellor Economic Affairs, French Embassy in New Delhi, said France plays an active role in the different multilateral agencies, either in funding the International Financial Institutions or in chairing the G20 Forum as well as G7 and G8 without discounting France’s position in the climate change negotiation (shared but differentiated responsibilities).