Council for Business with Britain to strengthen the UK-SL trade corridor

Monday, 7 September 2020 00:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes addressing the membership. Also in the picture are Vice President Linda Giebing, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Secretary Dinithi Dias, VP Ameena Ziaudeen, and CBB Treasurer Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny  

  • JKH Executive Vice President Roshanie Moraes becomes first woman to be elected as CBB President 

CBB Immediate Past President Mark Prothero 
Deputy High Commissioner Lisa Whanstall addressing the gathering on behalf of the High Commissioner
High Commissioner of the UK to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton
CBB Vice President and Hilton Colombo Residences General Manager Linda Giebing proposing the vote of thanks

The 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Council for Business with Britain (CBB) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was conducted on 27 August. 

During the course of proceedings, John Keells Holdings PLC Executive Vice President Roshanie Moraes became the first woman to be elected as the President of the Council for Business with Britain.

“Moving forward our efforts will primarily be focused on enhancing business and trade between the UK and Sri Lanka as part of wider Government-led efforts to support post-COVID economic revival. We believe that women will also play a greater role in driving this recovery, and to that end, we will also be launching an initiative to improve female labour force participation and gender parity across Sri Lanka’s business environment,” she stated. 

Exports to the UK from SL is around $ 1 billion and imports from the UK, around $ 370 million. UK is one of the two largest apparel buyers from Sri Lanka.

Commenting on developments during his tenure, CBB outgoing President and HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives CEO Mark Prothero said: “As we all know, it has been an unfortunate and difficult period for Sri Lanka with two ‘Black Swan’ events in a row in 2019 and 2020 which brought with it unprecedented challenges to our economy and particular hardship for our Tourism and Leisure sector. 

“However, it is encouraging to see that despite these unique challenges, there are other sectors of Sri Lanka’s export economy which have rebounded sharply in a strong V-shaped recovery. This serves as one of many indicators as to the resilience of the Sri Lankan people and we can be confident that under a united President and Government there is still strong opportunity for Sri Lanka to develop and prosper in the years ahead,” Prothero added.

Having served as President during the 20th anniversary of the CBB, Prothero went on to express his gratitude to fellow Committee members – including some of the largest domestic corporates and multinationals – for their support and senior-level engagement in the CBB. 

Over the past year, CBB organised multiple discussions and events focused on relevant and timely topics, covering financial and forex markets, responsible marketing, urban development and the significance of architecture and sustainable development. 

Among the other key highlights in the CBB’s calendar over the past year was the launch of the SL-UK trade and investment report and the hosting of a special event to felicitate former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain Kumar Sangakkara on his appointment as the Chairman of the MCC. 

Additionally, the council has also been actively supporting the training of English Language in partnership with the British Council for over 15 years. During this time, the CBB has funded the training of 2,300 teachers countrywide and positively impacted over 300,000 students. 

Reading a statement issued on behalf of High Commissioner to Sri Lanka from the UK Sarah Hulton, UK Deputy High Commissioner Lisa Whanstall said: “I would like to thank the outgoing President Mark Prothero and the CBB committee for all their hard work and for the time they have spent sharing insights and working together with me in my first year in Sri Lanka. 

“I also wish to congratulate incoming President Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes, together with the new office bearers and other committee members, with whom I look forward to working closely in the year ahead to support UK businesses in this challenging time. I understand that we have a first for the CBB on the gender representation front, which is also very exciting, and I am keen to explore activities and initiatives around this as well.”

The 2020/21 committee comprises of Hilton Colombo Residences General Manager Linda Giebing and Norfolk Foods Development Director Ameena Ziauddin as Vice Presidents, Inter Air and Sea Logistics Managing Director Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny as the Treasurer, and Mark Prothero as the Immediate Past President. 

Newly appointed committee members include: MAS Holdings COO Shirendra Lawrence, Unilever Sri Lanka Chairperson Hajar Alafifi, Hayleys PLC Director Sarath Ganegoda, Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan, Hirdaramani Group Director Nikhil Hirdaramani, London Stock Exchange Group SL Head of Shared Services Arjuna Nanayakkara, Oceanpick Managing Director Irfan Thassim, Etihad Airways Country Manager Dougie Douglas, Aitken Spence Travels General Manager Indika Abeykoon and Finlays Group Sri Lanka Managing Director Gihan Jayasinghe

British High Commission DIT Head of Trade and Investment Michael Fernandopulle and Spillburg Holdings Managing Director Shaameel Mohideen representing SMEs will be invitees to the Committee. Representatives from the BOI and the EDB to attend the meetings as invitees every quarter. 

Further details regarding membership of the Council and its activities could be obtained from the Secretariat of the CBB of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, No. 50, Navam Mawatha, Colombo-2. Email at [email protected] or call at 11 5588 861/55 888 00. CBB also could be contacted via, and on Twitter @CBB_SL. 


The CBB Committee for 2020/21 from left: Dinithi Dias, Sarath Ganegoda, Lisa Whanstall, Indika Abeykoon, Dougie Douglas, Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny, Shaameel Mohideen, Ameena Ziaudeen, Mark Prothero, Arjuna Nanayakkara, Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes, Gihan Jayasinghe, Irfan Thassim, Linda Giebing, S. Renganathan, Hajar Alafifi, Asanthi Fernando and Shirendra Lawrence