Jan 30, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is ready to welcome India’s largest business chamber, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), as there are significant opportunities for investment in the north, Rishad Bathiudeen, the minister of industry and commerce said.
Bathiudeen was speaking at the 8th Jaffna International Trade Exhibition last week.
“The provincial GDP of Northern Province is the smallest among all provincial GDPs in Sri Lanka. In 2015 Northern Province GDP was 2.6 billion dollars only,” he said.
“Despite having the smallest Provincial GDP, Northern Province has been a fast growing province among all provinces.”
The region has shown accelerated growth at 12.1 percent, despite problems with infrastructure and human resources, and this has caught the attention of India’s largest business chamber.
“This is the first time ASSOCHAM is entering Sri Lanka in this way and we are here to partner with Sri Lankan businesses in joint ventures, partnerships and even new business openings in many sectors including automotives and textiles,” said Vinay R Sharma, chairman of the exhibition council of ASSOCHAM.
“Jaffna is still a virgin market for us offering large and untapped potentials to our member base, which exceeds 475,000 firms,” he said.
Companies in his delegation may partner with Sri Lankan companies that are troubled or on the verge of closure, he said.
“We are also ready to commence industrial zones in Sri Lanka, even focused on exports. Such is our level of engagement and we believe that this will strengthen our bilateral trade.”
Consul General of India in Jaffna Shri. A. Natarajan said the north should attract more FDI.
“An aluminium production facility has been commenced in the North successfully. Still, this is not enough. Jaffna has much more potential to grow and Indian investors from ASSOCHAM are here to support so that the country’s production and exports would grow further,” Natarajan said.
Total trade between India and Sri Lanka was almost 5 billion dollars in 2015, and India was the largest supplier to Sri Lanka in 2015 accounting for 22.5 percent of Sri Lanka’s imports.