Oct 12, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka and India is appointing a joint task force with representatives from the private and state sectors to boost trade and investment, information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. Sri Lanka has appointed Kulatunga Rajapaksa from Samson International, Susantha Ratnayake from John Keells Holdings and Ashrof Omar from Brandix as representative from the business sector, he said.
Industry and commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen had proposed to the cabinet of ministers to start the task force to promote trade and Indian investments in key sectors including pharmaceuticals, textiles and auto accessories.
An industrial zone targeting Indian investors would be set up in Trincomalee, minister Rambukwelle said.
Sri Lanka and India had bilateral trade of around 5.0 billion US dollars with Sri Lankan exports to India reaching 500 million US dollars last year.
Sri Lankan citizens had traded with India from the time of ancient kings but trade by the citizens of entire South Asian region was blocked by high import duties and India’s ‘license raj’ after gaining self determination from British rule.
Analysts point out that in Sri Lanka powerful tax-arbitraging business inte