Seated from left: Ameena Ziauddin (Committee Member CBB/Norfolk Foods Ltd); Roshanie J. Moraes (Vice President CBB/John Keells Holdings Plc); James Dauris (British High Commissioner); Mark Prothero (President CBB/HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives); Hunter Crawford (Vice President/Finlays Colombo Ltd.); Cherryl Rodrigo (Secretary CBB/The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce). Standing from left: Irfan Thassim (Committee Member CBB/Oceanpick Ltd); Damian Gilkerson (Committee Member CBB/ Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals; R. Dougie Douglas (Committee Member CBB /Etihad Airways); Nikhul Hirdaramani (Committee Member CBB/Hirdaramani (Industries); Shirendra Lawrence (Committee Member CBB/MAS Holdings Plc); Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny (Committee Member CBB/Hellmann Worldwide Logistics Ltd.); Karim Schadlou (Immediate Past President CBB/ Hilton Colombo Residences); Gill Caldicott (by Invitation CBB/British Council); Ajay Jacob (Committee Member CBB/Qatar Airways); Michael Fernandopulle (by invitation CBB/British High Commission UKTD) Ameena Ziauddin (Committee Member CBB/Norfolk Foods Ltd.) Absent: Sarath Ganegoda (Committee Member CBB /Hayleys Plc); Romesh David (by invitation - Advisor to CBB/John Keells Holdings).
The 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Council for Business with Britain, staged under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), was held on 25 June at Westminster House, electing Mark Prothero as President.
The Chief Guest was British High Commissioner James Dauris, who is also the Patron Member of the Council.
In his address, Dauris said: “Trade and investment together are one of the cornerstones of a relationship that is important both for Sri Lanka and the UK. Thank you for the emphasis that you have been giving to recruiting new members because it is the membership of an organisation like the council that brings focus, engagement and authority. Furthermore, there has been an encouraging value of contracts that have been won by British companies in Sri Lanka. The number amounts to somewhere over £ 100 million, and this is genuinely encouraging. These numbers make it easier for us to encourage more British companies, which could and should be looking at opportunities here, to think about this as a serious market for them and for the many companies that could be doing good business here in Sri Lanka.”
Congratulating the newly-appointed committee, the High Commissioner appreciated the CBB’s role in hosting and facilitating business delegations and said he looked forward to closer involvement with the council.
The outgoing president Karim Schadlou said: “Your council has continued to organise relevant monthly breakfast meetings with many an eminent guest speaker addressing the membership.”
The council during the year had GlaxoSmithKline Plc Global Ethics and Compliance Senior Vice President Nick Hirons along with Dauris, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Director General Sarath Jayamanna and John Keells Holdings Plc Group Finance Director Ronnie Peiris sharing their thoughts on the topic of ‘Corporate Governance: Staying ahead of bribery and corruption risk in April 2017’.
It also saw a visit by the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in United Kingdom, Amari Wijewardene on 22 September 2017. Regional Operations Manager for South India and Sri Lanka- UK Visas and Immigration, Sarah Williamson, together with her team did a presentation on UK visa procedures.
The council held a breakfast meeting under the topic ‘Attracting FDI to Sri Lanka – New initiatives’ with Board of Investment Chairman Dumindra Ratnayaka as the speaker.
Paul Mackel, MD-Head of Asian Currency Research HSBC, Hong Kong, also spoke on the theme ‘Where are the currencies heading … Global & LKR’.
The council organised yet another important breakfast session just a few weeks ago on ‘European General Data Protection Regulations’ that will now affect all companies that wish to undertake business with any individual anywhere in Europe. It will still apply to the UK post-Brexit.
The council members also had the opportunity of meeting the Prime Minister’s recently appointed Trade Envoy for Sri Lanka, Ranil Jayawardena. Jayawardena’s role as trade envoy will be to support and enhance the development of Britain’s trade and investment with Sri Lanka,” he said.
Addressing the members, newly-elected President Prothero, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, said his main objectives were to promote bilateral trade, investment, technical and economic co-operation, tourism and services between Sri Lanka and the UK.
He further stressed the need for the CBB to serve as a recognised representative of business sector interests in Sri Lanka with the support of the British High Commission whilst maintaining a good rapport with local government bodies, the British Council and UKTI.
Focusing on bilateral trade, Prothero, addressing the gathering, said: “I wanted to share with you all, one recent and relevant example of an initiative the committee is taking forward. We are about to embark on the compilation of a research brief on ‘Trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the UK’ which we will in due course make available to all current and future CBB members and place on our website. The document will be compiled by the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and will focus on the following areas: Key economic highlights of Sri Lanka with useful links; insights as to the investment case for Sri Lanka with highlights of key sectors; current regulations/legislation in Sri Lanka regarding investing and opening a business in Sri Lanka; economic outlook of Sri Lanka covering the macroeconomic framework and key indicators such as trade balance, international reserve balances, investment flows; trade outlook covering FTAs Sri Lanka has signed, impact of regaining GSP plus, tariff and non-tariff barriers; analysis of recent bilateral trade flows between Sri Lanka and the UK; overview of commercial, investment and economic relations between the UK and Sri Lanka including bilateral agreements signed; potential product areas for enhanced bilateral trade between UK and Sri Lanka; analysis of key bottlenecks faced in bilateral investment between UK and Sri Lanka (based on investor perspectives); emerging opportunities for investment in Sri Lanka for UK investors, based on emerging economic and policy developments; and overview on the tourism industry in Sri Lanka covering tourist arrivals from the UK to Sri Lanka.
New President Mark encouraged the members to let the committee know how they could better serve them.
As Vice Presidents Finlays Colombo Ltd. Managing Director Hunter Crawford and John Keells Holdings Executive Vice President Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes were elected. Hilton Colombo Residences General Manager Karim Schadlou will serve as the Immediate Past President.
The following companies were elected to serve on the Committee for the Year 2018-2019. Etihad Airways, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Hayleys Plc, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics Ltd., Hirdaramani (Industries) Ltd., MAS Holdings Plc, Norfolk Foods Ltd, Oceanpick Ltd, Qatar Airways, Unilever Sri Lanka.
Head of UK Trade and Investment of British High Commission, Country Director of the British Council and Romesh David, President, Transportation, John Keells Holdings Plc will serve as invitees.