Sri Lanka invites Austria and Slovakia to Commonwealth Business Forum and exhibition

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen extended an invitation to Austrian and Slovakian officials and business persons to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum and “Reflection of Sri Lanka” exhibition that would take place in Colombo next month. During his meeting with Austrian Deputy Vice Minister for Economy, Family and Youth Franz Wessig, the Minister apprised Wessig of the economic developments in Sri Lanka, including the significant growth in GDP and infrastructure development projects, among others. Addressing the trade relations between the two countries, both Ministers agreed to further exploit the great potential for trade between Sri Lanka and Austria by diversifying and expanding trade relations. Minister Bathiudeen also apprised the Deputy Vice Minister of the excellent investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, including the ease of doing business in the country and the many attractive incentives afforded to foreign investors. The Deputy Vice Minister highlighted the trade opportunities that could be availed of given the geographical locations of both Austria and Sri Lanka. He added that visits by business delegations from both countries would facilitate further enhancement of existing bilateral trade relations. He stated that Austria would be pleased to offer expertise to Sri Lanka in the areas of biomass, healthcare and also offer soft loans. On 10 October, Minister Bathiudeen met with Austria State Secretary for European and International Affairs Dr. Rienhold Lopatka, where the Minister stressed the importance of strengthening trade and economic relations between the two countries, highlighting the potential that exists in Sri Lanka for joint collaboration in business ventures and for investment. The Secretary assured that Austria was looking forward to initiate a number of mutually beneficial activities in Sri Lanka, which would promote trade and economic opportunities, especially given the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries which falls in 2014. The Minister also highlighted the opportunities in the tourism sector and invited Austrian business representatives engaged in tourism to avail themselves of this opportunity. The Austrian company representatives showed keen interest in participating at the trade exhibition and exploring the opportunities that Sri Lanka offered. When he met with Tomas Malatinsky, his Slovakian counterpart the Minister invited Slovak officials and business persons to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum and “Reflection of Sri Lanka” exhibition that would take place in Colombo next month and stated that there was great potential to further improve trade and economic relations between the two countries. He emphasised the importance of diversification and expansion of trade in order to achieve its full potential and also to promote tourism with Slovakian investment in Sri Lanka. The Minister drew his counterpart’s attention to the high rates of growth experienced by Sri Lanka in the past few years and also to its skilled workforce, ideal geographical location, infrastructure facilities and investor friendly regulations, which included protection of foreign direct investment under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. He remarked that such facilities and incentives had attracted large scale FDI from many countries in Europe and Asia. At the Sri Lanka- Slovakia Business Forum held at the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO), the Minister highlighted the potential for trade and investment in Sri Lanka and the benefits accruing to businesses by participating at the Commonwealth Business Forum and the “Reflection of Sri Lanka” trade exhibition. Minister Tomas Malatinsky during his speech assured his country’s commitment to further improving trade relations with Sri Lanka.