- Expo 2012 promoted to national event as catalyst to reach US$ 15 b in exports by 2015
- Powerful Cabinet committee appointed; over 1,000 delegates from 30 countries expected
- Five international road shows done in 2011 as pre-publicity
- Offers from EU and S. Asian countries to be exhibitors
Sri Lanka’s first international export show, which is being held after a lapse of 15 years, has been upgraded to a national event with over 1,000 delegates and 300 local exhibitors expected, officials said yesterday.
Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen together with Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake told media that a business forum has been organised featuring international business leaders as part of Expo 2012.
World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy, Marks and Spencer CEO Marc Bolland and Victoria’s Secret CEO Sharen J. Turney are expected to be among those at the business forum, which will run from 28-31 March 2012.
The event has been extended from two to four days under a new aim to use it as a catalyst to target US$ 15 billion in exports by 2015. Over 30 countries are expected to be represented at the gala event.
A powerful Cabinet committee has been appointed titled ‘Sri Lanka Expo 2102 High Level Inter-Ministerial Committee,’ headed by Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama. The other members include Traditional Industries Minister Douglas Devananda, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Technology and Research Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Plantations Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.
In addition, a high level ‘Official Committee’ has also been appointed, led by Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Tilak Collure. Other members are heads of the EDB, Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Tourism Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Authority.
“Strong interests have been expressed by some EU countries and even Iran, Pakistan and India to join as exhibitors in Expo 2012 but we have not said yes to them since Expo 2012 is focused on the Sri Lankan exporters. Since we are resuming this event after 15 years, all 300 export firms on show are Sri Lankan. However, we are now planning to conduct this national event every other year and these future Sri Lanka Expos will be at international level with the participation of international exhibitors and foreign delegations,” Ratnayake added.
Already five overseas road shows on Expo 2012 in UK, Dubai, Germany, Korea and Canada have been concluded in 2011. Among the channels of international media campaign are the Wall Street Journal, Fortune China, Food Companion Int’l Magazine in Australia, Serendib, Sri Lanka Investment Guide, and the Foreign Policy Magazine in USA.
With a target to attract over 1000 business partners to Sri Lanka the event will also see ministerial delegations from 10 countries and participation of 20 foreign Journalists. The mega show is a collection of exhibitions, a symposium, networking sessions, B2B meetings and industrial visits.
The product sectors in focus are industrial, agriculture and fisheries and export services sector including ICT/BPO/KPOs and professional services. The symposium will consist three sessions of investment, trade and tourism.