(PRESS RELEASE) – Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama accompanied by Ambassador Rodney Perera met with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström today (12 March 2017) at the European Commission in Brussels.
The Minister discussed with Commissioner Malmström prospects for increasing bilateral trade and investment from the European Union with the enhanced opportunities expected following the Commission recommendation to restore the GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka. It was noted that bilateral trade turn over currently stands at approximately USD 5 billion annually and the EU accounts for 36% of Sri Lanka’s total exports last year.
Minister Samarawickrama discussed the prospects for increasing investment and invited European companies to do business with Sri Lanka. He stated that there are many opportunities to invest in infrastructure development and also in the agriculture and dairy sector with the possibility of joint ventures.
The Minister referred to the resumption of the EU Sri Lanka Investment Dialogue in January this year after a lapse of many years. Commissioner Malmström expressed confidence that European investors would increasingly look at the favourable opportunities available in Sri Lanka in the context of the positive steps taken by the Government to create an investor friendly climate. It was noted that a high level delegation from the European Investment Bank (EIB) will visit Colombo at the end of this month to explore further avenues of economic cooperation between the EU and Sri Lanka.
Minister Samarawickrama briefed Commissioner Malmström on the steps Sri Lanka is taking to bring about reconciliation, strengthen good governance and respect for human rights and the regular dialogue with the EU on matters of mutual interest.
Minister Samarawickrama extended an invitation to Commissioner Malmström to visit Sri Lanka at an early opportunity to which the Commissioner responded positively.