Discover Sri Lanka: a Trading and a Trans-Shipment Hub for South Asia
On May 16, 2018 the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels, organized the seminar “Discover Sri Lanka: a Trading and a Trans-Shipment Hub for South Asia”.
The participants got more insights about the opportunities existing in Sri Lanka, which is enjoying since 2017 the benefit of the EU GSP Plus (Generalised Scheme of Preferences) granted by the European Union and giving European companies an access to neighboring markets such as India and Pakistan utilizing the Free Trade Agreements that Sri Lanka has signed with those countries.
Mr. Jeannot Erpelding, Director of International Affairs, welcomed the honored guests, Honorable State Minister of International Trade of Sri Lanka, Mr Sujeewa Senasinghe and His Excellency Mr. E. Rodney M. Perera, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, who presented the achievements of Sri Lanka to growth (economy has grown on average at a rate of 5,8% a year). Moreover, they highlighted the island’s geographical position of Sri Lanka, which has always given it a natural advantage as a key logistics hub in South Asia. Despite being a small economy, Sri Lanka is an important trading and transshipment hub in the region where many shipping companies consolidate and deconsolidate cargo for transshipping to other destinations all over the world. His Excellency Mr. E. Rodney M. Perera also mentioned the forthcoming signing of an agreement for air freight routes from Colombo to Luxembourg with direct scheduled cargo flights within the next weeks or months. He concluded by saying that Sri Lanka is an ambitious country, full of capacities, of opportunities but strongly needs technology to meet its expectations.
Mr. M. P. Tuli Cooray, Advisor for the Private Sector Industries in Sri Lanka, took the floor to present Sri Lanka as the next trade and investment destination in Asia. The country is on an ambitious trade reform agenda with new trade, maritime and logistics policies as well as strategies for new investments with priority sectors such as manufacturing (Electronics, Industrial Machinery, Automotive, Electrical Equipment, Food Products, Pharmaceuticals, etc), services (IT & Software Development, BOP/KPO, Tourism and Education) and sub sectors (Solar Cells, Production machinery, Auto parts, Electricity panel boards, Structural metal products, Fruits and vegetable processing, dairy). See ppt presentation attached below.
In order to complete the seminar, a testimonial was given by Mr Benoit Digeon, CEO of the Luxembourg-based company Asianergy, to share with the audience its success story in Sri Lanka, thanks to his collaboration with Imhotep, another Luxembourg-based company. Both build and operate biomass and biogas power plants to produce energy on the island.
The seminar was followed by b2b meetings and a networking lunch.
In the afternoon, 7 IT companies, out of the 16 Sri Lankan companies attending the event, had the opportunity to visit the Global Tech Conference ICT Spring as well as the datacenter of EBRC - European Business Reliance Centre to have a general overview of the strong IT community in Luxembourg.
As diversified the world may be, Luxembourg and Sri Lanka share several common points like the ambition to become the go-to hubs in their respective regions but also business opportunities in the fields of ICT, logistics, air freight and financial services.