“You are our third largest foreign financier!”: Rishad to Japanese investors

Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Japan trade hits $ 413 m in 1H-2013
  • A crucial partner since our economy opened in 1977: Rishad
  • Rishad speaking to Japanese investors one-to-one
  Japan is Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier and Lanka’s bilateral trade with Japan is also on a promising trend. “In 2012, Japan was Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier after China and India. Lanka–Japan trade too has been growing at an increase of 56% from 2002,” said a pleased Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 14 October. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the high powered Japanese business and investment delegation; one of the biggest such official Japanese teams to arrive in Sri Lanka at the JETRO reception held at Colombo Hilton on the eve of 14 October. Accompanying the delegation (and also present at the reception) was JETRO Japan Chairman Hiroyuki Ishige. JETRO Colombo revealed that the event is a collaboration between the Sri Lanka-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and the Japan-Sri Lanka Business Cooperation Committee with support from the Embassy of Japan in Colombo. Also present at the event were officials of Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the EDB, the Department of Commerce, members of Lankan business and exporter communities and Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Nobuhito Hobo. During the official working visit to Japan of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in March 2013 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, both leaders in their joint statement noted “the need to dispatch a Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) joint investment mission to Sri Lanka, as a follow-up to the investment seminar that would take place during the President’s visit to Japan, to conduct JETRO’s survey on needs and strategies for Japan-Sri Lanka business, and to dispatch experts from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) in order to explore the possibility of bilateral cooperation”. During the event, Minister Bathiudeen also made it a point to meet visiting and already present Japanese investors in Sri Lanka individually and inquired about their wishes and concerns. “Japan is one of the ‘most crucial’ global partners of Sri Lanka’s trade and development history. Last year, after China and India, Japan was the third largest Foreign Financier to Sri Lanka as a Development Partner. Japan committed $ 521 million to Sri Lanka in that year. As for private investments, 39 Japanese projects are in operation here. In fact, Japan is one of the pioneering global investors in Sri Lanka, entering in the immediate aftermath of the opening of our economy in 1977. Since then, top Japanese multinationals have regularly invested here. In fact, Japan is a major global player in modernising Sri Lanka’s telecom and logistics sectors as well as mega scale infrastructure projects in our recent history. “On behalf of people of Sri Lanka, I extend my thanks to Japan for extending such support to Sri Lanka” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “Sri Lanka–Japan bilateral trade has been growing and in 2012 it stood at $ 770 million, an increase of 56% from 2002. “In the first half of this year alone bilateral trade levels were a promising $ 413 million. Today I invite you to invest in Sri Lanka for win-win partnerships and access the huge South Asian markets. Sri Lanka’s FTAs with India and Pakistan, gives you a ready access-point, to these markets, through more than 4000 export product lines, and thanks to the efforts of President Mahinda Rajapaksa we can claim a stable economic growth as a middle income country with an expected GDP rate of 7%, which are strong supporting factors for international investors. Our share market too has a respectable valuation among markets of many emerging economies with a price to earnings ratio of 12.” Outlining the promising investment opportunities for Japanese biz in Sri Lanka, Minister Bathiudeen announced: “I encourage you to focus on our apparel sector, and also pleased to suggest other sectors for you, to consider motor vehicle assembly, warehousing, deep sea fishing, construction of cold stores, urban commercial and leisure property development, agro processing and agro technology, marina and marina related commercial property development, fish canning and processing factories, fresh vegetables and fruit exports, IT/BPO sector, tourist transportation and tourist leisure activities.”