CEO Forum: Inter-ministerial task force to boost economy, says Harsha

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Oct 22, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new government has formed an inter-ministerial task force to develop the economy by coordinating work of important ministries, the Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said.

Apart from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the task force mainly works with the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry and Industry and Commerce Ministry.

“We’ve already had the first meeting and had a very good feed back,” de Silva said.

He was delivering the keynote speech at the 64th LBR LBO CEO Forum held in Colombo on Wednesday under the theme of “Economic Diplomacy and what it means to the Private Sector.”

“So periodically, hopefully once a month we could meet. We have the agencies working with us. Related issues or broader topics can be discussed and solutions can be found.” de Silva said.

Deputy Foreign Minister reiterated the need to align country’s foreign policy with the economic policy in order to tap into global supply chains.

“We want to make friends with our buyers. We can’t fight with them and expect them to purchase our stuff,” he said.

“We’ve gotten to a mental bind that we somehow can’t be told to follow the global standards. It doesn’t happen like that. Vietnam is so bold to agree in house reforms to be able to leverage the TPP.”

Harsha de Silva said the government is to restart the TPP partnership dialogue with the United States.

“We had this TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) talks for some time but nothing really came out of it because the previous government was not serious about it.”

Deputy Foreign Minister further added that Sri Lanka has also been invited to join the Open Government Initiative of the United States as the 66th member nation.

It is an effort by US President Barack Obama’s administration to create an unprecedented level of openness in Government which upholds the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration.

De Silva will also be traveling to Russia and Indonesia soon to discuss opportunities to improve trade.

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