Council for Business with Britain to strengthen the UK-SL trade corridor


Sep 04, 2020 (LBO) – The newly elected President of the Council for Business with Britain says efforts will primarily be focused on enhancing business and trade between the UK and Sri Lanka as part of wider Government-led efforts to support post-COVID economic revival.

“Moving forward our efforts will primarily be focused on enhancing business and trade between the UK and Sri Lanka as part of wider Government-led efforts to support post-COVID economic revival,”
Roshanie Moraes, Executive Vice President, John Keells Holdings PLC who became the first woman to be elected as the President of the Council for Business with Britain.

“We believe that women will also play a greater role in driving this recovery, and to that end, we will also be launching an initiative to improve female labour force participation and gender parity across Sri Lanka’s business environment.”

Exports to the UK from SL is around USD 1 b and imports from the UK, around USD 370 m. UK is one of the two largest apparel buyers from SL.

Commenting on developments during his tenure, outgoing President, Mark Prothero, CEO of HSBC, Sri Lanka & Maldives said: “As we all know, it has been an unfortunate and difficult period for Sri Lanka with two “Black Swan” events in a row in 2019 and 2020 which brought with it unprecedented challenges to our economy and particular hardship for our Tourism and Leisure sector.

“However, it is encouraging to see that despite these unique challenges, there are other sectors of Sri Lanka’s export economy which have rebounded sharply in a strong v-shaped recovery. This serves as one of many indicators as to the resilience of the Sri Lankan people and we can be confident that under a united President and Government there is still strong opportunity for Sri Lanka to develop and prosper in the years ahead,” he said.

Having served as President during the 20th anniversary of the CBB, Prothero went on to express his gratitude to fellow Committee members – including some of the largest domestic corporates and multi-nationals – for their support and senior-level engagement in the CBB.   

Over the past year, CBB organised multiple discussions and events focused on relevant and timely topics, covering financial and forex markets, responsible marketing, urban development and the significance of architecture and sustainable development. Among the other key highlights in the CBB’s calendar over the past year was the launch of the SL-UK trade and investment report and the hosting of a special event to felicitate former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain, Kumar Sangakkara on his appointment as the Chairman of the MCC.

Additionally, the council has also been actively supporting the training of English Language in partnership with the British Council for over 15 years. During this time, the CBB has funded the training of 2,300 teachers countrywide and positively impacted over 300,000 students.

Reading a statement issued on behalf of High Commissioner to Sri Lanka from the UK, Sarah Hulton, Lisa Whanstall, Deputy High Commissioner for the UK said: “I would like to thank the outgoing President Mark Prothero and the CBB committee for all their hard work and for the time they have spent sharing insights and working together with me in my first year in Sri Lanka. I also wish to congratulate incoming President Roshanie Jayasundera Moraes, together with the new office bearers and other committee members, with whom I look forward to working closely in the year ahead to support UK businesses in this challenging time. I understand that we have a first for the CBB on the gender representation front, which is also very exciting, and I am keen to explore activities and initiatives around this as well.”

The 2020/21 committee comprises of Linda Giebing, General Manager, Hilton Colombo Residences and Ameena Ziauddin – Development Director, Norfolk Foods as Vice Presidents, Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny, MD, Inter Air & Sea Logistics, as the Treasurer and Mark Prothero, CEO, HSBC Sri Lanka & Maldives as the Immediate Past President.

Newly appointed committee members include: Shirendra Lawrence, COO, MAS Holdings, Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson, Unilever Sri Lanka, Sarath Ganegoda, Director, Hayleys PLC, S Renganathan, MD, Commercial Bank, Nikhil Hirdaramani, Director, Hirdaramani Group,  Arjuna Nanayakkara, Head of Shared Services, London Stock Exchange Group SL, Irfan Thassim, MD, Oceanpick, Dougie Douglas, Country Manager, Etihad Airways, Indika Abeykoon, GM, Aitken Spence Travels and Gihan Jayasinghe, MD, Finlays Group, SL.

Michael Fernandopulle, Head of Trade & Investment at the DIT, of the British High Commission, the Head of the British Council and Shaameel Mohideen, MD of Spillburg Holdings representing SMEs will be invitees to the Committee. Representatives from the BOI and the EDB to attend the meetings as invitees every quarter.

Further details regarding membership of the Council and its activities could be obtained from the Secretariat of the CBB of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, No. 50, Navam Mawatha, Colombo 2. E-mail: or Tel.: 011-5588861, 5588800. CBB also could be contacted via and on Twitter @CBB_SL.

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