Joint business partnerships between Mexican and Sri Lankan companies will help accessing the difficult North American markets. Identifying focal points of representation for trade in Mexico and in Sri Lanka will be a step in this direction, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen.
Minister Bathiudeen made the statement yesterday during a meeting with Jaime Nualart, Mexican Ambassador to India, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka at the Ministry Premises in Colombo 3. Nualart is leading a Mexican business delegation to Colombo. This is the first-ever official Mexican business delegation to visit Sri Lanka.
“Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Mexico stands at US$ 63 million. But what is important is that this is still a small volume and there is much potential between the two countries to enhance it further,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
Mexico was ranked as Sri Lanka’s 26th export destination in 2010. Sri Lanka’s export to Mexico has been increasing gradually since 2002. The value of exports has increased from US$ 38.26 million in 2002 to US$ 60.99 million in 2010. Sri Lanka’s exports to Mexico are currently dominated by cinnamon, taking 60% of the total volume.
“To enhance the regularity of our bilateral cooperation and strengthen it further, regular visits by business delegations to each other countries are important. Also, participation in trade fairs will strengthen trade cooperation further. To achieve our bilateral trade targets, we need to pursue a strategic trade vision specially to harness synergies of Mexican and Sri Lankan entrepreneurs through mutually beneficial partnerships to exploit promising market opportunities in the US and Canada opened by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). A key need to achieve the above is to identify Focal Points of representation for Trade in Mexico and in Sri Lanka, which I believe will be a key step toward enhanced trade cooperation,” the Minister said.
Bathiudeen also informed the Mexican delegation that apparel, construction, pharmaceuticals, high end shopping malls and multiplex cinemas are promising investments in Sri Lanka.
Mexican Ambassador Nualart said that he will invite Mexican businesspersons in India to invest in Sri Lanka. He expressed strong interest in investing here in food processing, multiplex cinemas and construction, especially shopping complexes. “We want to share information and latest data with Sri Lanka,” Nualart said.
Aldo Ruiz (Investment and Trade Commissioner, Mexican Ministry of Economy), said: “Bringing Mexican food processing technology here will enormously assist Sri Lanka’s agro base (to access international markets).”
Speaking of Mexican investments in India, Nualart said that housing, industrial electrical transformers, water pumps, catalytic converters and food products were key Mexican manufacturing investments in India.
Bandula Somasiri, Acting Director General of Department of Commerce, addressing the delegation briefed them on Sri Lanka’s liberal trade regime and its opportunities for Mexico. “Sri Lanka wants to diversify its exports basket to Mexico,” he stressed.
“The bilateral trade between the two countries stands at US$ 63. Our exports to Mexico stand at US$ 61 million while imports are at US$ 2 million. I strongly believe that our bilateral trade volume is still a small volume and there is much potential between the two countries to enhance it further,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
“What is exciting is that new products such as apparels, rubber and coconut products are added to our export basket. Some other potential products for export expansion are tea in value added form, processed vegetables and fruits, prefabricated building materials, tents, sails for boats, activated carbon, gem and jewellery, leather products and ceramic and porcelain,” he added.
Explaining the post war economic growth in Sri Lanka, Minister Bathiudeen said: “A summary of our macroeconomic view highlights this. In fact, I am happy to inform you that Sri Lanka has recorded a promising 8.1% economic growth in 2010 and is expected to grow even faster in the coming years at an estimated 9% in 2012 to 2013. In parallel, our per capita GDP in 2010 increased by a strong 16.6% to US$ 2399. The IMF is also happy with Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic stability and fiscal reforms of our Government. What is important to note is that this enhancement is witnessed across-the-board in our economy.”