Vice President of OPIC visits Sri Lanka; aims to counter debt-trap investments


Oct 05, 2018 (LBO) – Executive Vice President of OPIC, David Bohigian and other US government officials visited Sri Lanka from October 3 to 5 with the aim to promote US investment in the region and strengthened cooperation with regional allies to drive economic growth and stability.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the US government’s development finance institution.

The delegation met with Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera from the Government of Sri Lanka as well as representatives of American businesses active in the Sri Lankan market.

“Positioned within reach of one of the world’s busiest trade routes, Sri Lanka is a hub of maritime activity in the Indian Ocean and serves a vital role in the global economy,” said Bohigian.

“Investments backed by the U.S. government provide a financially-sound alternative to state-led solutions that lead nations like Sri Lanka into debt traps. OPIC is committed to supporting projects that promote free and open societies while adhering to strong environmental and labor standards,”

“We look forward to partnering with Sri Lanka and other regional allies to identify opportunities for investment in ports and other infrastructure, which will fuel sustainable economic growth, create jobs, and leave countries better off.”

Historically, OPIC has invested 118 million US dollars in Sri Lanka and currently has almost 20 million dollars invested across four projects.

“The United States seeks to build strong, reciprocal, and balanced bilateral trade and investment relationships throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Chargé d’affaires Robert Hilton.

“We work with the Sri Lankan government to ensure that American companies are given the opportunity to compete for government tenders and that tenders are conducted fairly and free from corruption,”

“The United States is the single largest export market for “Made in Sri Lanka” garments. We would like to grow US exports to Sri Lanka, from agricultural products to manufactured goods to software and entertainment.”

OPIC has a long history of partnering with allies in the region and recently signed Memoranda of Understanding with Japan’s Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), and with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

As part of his National Security Strategy, President Trump highlighted the need for a modernized approach by the US government to development finance to help grow aspiring partners, promote economic relationships, and increase investment in regions important to American interests.

Related: US BUILD act passes House; aims to counter China’s debt-trap diplomacy

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