An enthusiastic group of top United States corporations visited Sri Lanka earlier this week accompanied by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S. Jaliya Wickramasuriya to pursue business opportunities.
The delegation, which included such notable companies as Boeing, John Deere, Coca Cola, AECOM, Transinnova, AGL Partners and Venture Global Partners, was welcomed in Sri Lanka by a number of members of the Government, including ministers and secretaries.
The delegation paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 30 March, 2011.
During the meeting with President Rajapaksa, the business executives pledged their commitment to share findings on the island’s emerging trade and investment prospects with their fellow entrepreneurs and the law makers in the US.
The delegates commended the President for his sincere dedication to peace and ethnic reconciliation as well as restoring normalcy at a rapid pace following the conflict, which ended in May 2009. They were also highly impressed with the numerous advances Sri Lanka has been making on both the political and economic fronts under his leadership.
The President thanked the delegation for selecting Sri Lanka as a business destination and noted the importance of American companies coming to Sri Lanka. He told the group that the Sri Lankan government will assist these companies to every possible extent.
Sri Lanka’s economy has been thriving in the midst of a world-wide recession, returning an 8 percent gross domestic product in 2010. Growth in 2011 is expected to exceed that amount and foreign investment is set to reach $1 billion, according to forecasts by Sri Lanka’s Central Bank.
The U.S. is a $1.74 billion trade market for Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan government hopes to expand U.S. investment further, including expansion in the tourism, manufacturing, aviation, construction and IT sectors. During the last two years the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has co-sponsored two investment conferences in Sri Lanka with the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington, D.C., to boost U.S. investment in the island nation.