May 20, Colombo: Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah Zainal Alireza has said that the peace achieved in Sri Lanka has made it possible for the Kingdom to establish new trade relations with the island.
During a discussion with the visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen in Jeddah on Thursday, the Saudi Minister has said that earlier due to the unrest in the North and East of Sri Lanka the Kingdom was unable to promote much trade but now it can open a new chapter in the trade relations between the two countries.
The Saudi Minister has told Bathiudeen that he would now send a Saudi trade delegation to Sri Lanka soon to explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries, Arab Times reported.
The Sri Lankan Minister has identified tourism, garments industry, information technology, cultivation of fruits and vegetables and gem and jewelry as promising areas of investment.
Responding to a request made by the Sri Lankan minister, his Saudi counterpart has agreed to send a technical team to identify new areas of cooperation in the field of agriculture under King Abdullahs Initiative for Saudi Agricultural Investment Abroad.
During the discussions the two countries have agreed to form a joint Saudi-Sri Lanka Business Council to enhance bilateral trade.
Bathiudeen, pointing out that the bilateral trade stood at $249 million which included $43.8 million for Sri Lanka’s exports to the Kingdom has said that the bilateral trade can be improved with the exchange of trade visits between the two countries and the establishment of business council.
Minister Bathiudeen had also requested Saudi Arabia to import garments from Sri Lanka adding that they can be made according to the specifications of the Saudi businessmen.
He has urged Saudi businessmen to invest in upcoming projects in the island nation, which would yield attractive gains.
The visiting Sri Lankan Minister also met Riyadh Governor Prince Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday (17).
He also met Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen, Deputy Finance Minister Hamad Al-Bazie and chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy.