Sri Lanka seen ‘priority country’ for Indian industry

It quoted Rajapaksa as saying his government is keen to develop three and four star hotels and invited Indian companies to invest in this sector.

“He also invited Indian companies to invest in vegetarian restaurants in the country.”

CII also offered to identify partners for capacity building and training of staff for hospitality industry.

Talks also focused on cooperation in the education sector. CII agreed to send an education delegation to Sri Lanka next year for further discussion.

CII business delegation requested the Sri Lankan government for “early conclusion” of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and Sri Lanka, expanding a free trade deal to achieve closer economic integration, the statement said.

“The Sri Lankan side assured the Indian delegation that they are taking necessary steps for early conclusion of an agreement for closer economic cooperation.”

India is the island’s largest trade partner with trade between the two neighbors surging six times since 2000 when the bilateral Free Trade Agreement came into force.

“Bilateral trade turnover has crossed 4.1 billion US dollars between January-October 2011 and is likely to touch the 5 billion dollar mark by the year-end,” the statement said. In 2000, the bilateral trade turnover amounted to 658 million dollars.

India is among the top four investors in Sri Lanka and was the largest FDI source in 2010 with investments worth 110 million dollars.

The cumulative Indian investment of India into Sri Lanka since 2003 has crossed 650 million dollars.

“Several Indian companies have planned investments in the island in the coming years,” the statement said.

“Likewise, investments by Sri Lankan companies in India too are surging as Sri Lankan businesses take advantage of India’s dynamic economy.”

The CII business mission consisted of officials from Taylor Rubber, Bhoruka Power Corporation, MARG Ltd., Srei Infrastructure Finance, Waterford Institute India, ICICI Bank, TVS and Sons, Alstorm Projects India, Griffith Laboratories, and Brigade Hospitality Services.

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