Sri Lanka’s future prosperity depends on a vibrant, dynamic and innovative export sector, and Sri Lanka Expo 2012 will contribute towards achieving the set export targets. I request all to assist the Export Development Board to conduct the Expo 2012 successfully, said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce.
Addressing the launch of Sri Lanka Expo 2012 on Tuesday night at Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand the Minister said: “As you all are aware, our exports are growing steadily. The total value of exports has increased from US dollars 7.1 billion in 2009 to US dollars 8.3 billion in 2010. The target set is US dollars 15 billion for 2015 and US dollars 20 billion in 2020. I am confident that the holding of the Sri Lanka Expo 2012, will contribute towards achieving the set export targets” Minister Bathiudeen said.
This Expo 2012 international trade fair and the mega trade promotion organised by the Export Development Board under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is scheduled to be held in March, 2012. This is a combination of exhibition, symposiums, keynote addresses and corporate events with the theme of “Partnering with the hub of Asia.”
“It will be an opportunity to network, make contacts and speak with other likeminded people, who understand and appreciate, the challenges the business community face. This will further give you an opportunity, to pick up new ideas, and perhaps most importantly, it is a chance to think about, how you can do things, even better and be more efficient and more profitable” Minister Bathiudeen added.
Speaking on the hub of Asia, Minister Bathiudeen said: “The Mahinda Chintana, the way forward, the government’s policy document, envisages Sri Lanka to be transformed, as a strategically important economic centre of the world. In this transformation, Sri Lanka will be developed into five hubs providing links between the East and the West. These hubs are a maritime hub, an aviation hub, a Commercial Hub, an Energy Hub and a Knowledge Hub. The theme of Sri Lanka Expo 2012 - “Partnering with hub of Asia” has therefore, been developed to be in line with this. Following the dawn of peace in the island, our Economy has been put into an accelerated growth path. Our challenge is to maintain an 8-10 % growth in the next five years, which will result in doubling of the per capita income, from the current level of US dollars 2,000 to US dollars 4,000 by 2016. This growth will eliminate unemployment, the major cause for unrest among our youth. We are ensuring economic stability, through prudent macro-economic and monetary policies. Relaxation of exchange control regulations will create an investor friendly environment. The government has recognised the need for rapid development of infrastructural facilities, such as Ports, Airports, better Highways and efficient Transport, reliable Electricity and Telecommunication. As you know, massive efforts are being undertaken, to provide these facilities. Today, the fastest growing region of the world, is in Asia. Unfortunately, we still have negative trade balances with our major Asian trading partners. With our rapid economic growth, we must endeavour to reverse this trend.”
Explaining the Expo 2012, Minister Bathiudeen said: “A special feature would be several symposia, where key business magnates will deliver speeches on selected themes. Our business people will be able to learn the developments, that are taking place globally in the field of trade. The visiting foreigners will be able to witness what are the investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka. When these information is shared among their countrymen, that pave the way for further growth of tourism and trade, and finally investment. Sri Lanka’s future prosperity depends on a vibrant, dynamic and innovative export sector. As the Minister in charge it is my responsibility to ensure you are getting the support advice and assistance you need to perform at your best.”
Requesting assistance for Expo 2012 from stakeholders, Minister Bathiudeen concluded: “I request all of you gathered here today to assist the Sri Lanka Export Development Board in organising this great event in particular the Heads of Foreign Missions in Sri Lanka, to solicit the participation of buyers from your countries. I strongly believe that this event will make a significant contribution, in the transformation of Sri Lanka, as an important economic centre. I cordially invite you all to be partners in this process.”