Sri Lanka to build bilateral relations with Kerala; to focus on spice, products

Sri Lanka is planning to build dynamic bilateral relations with Kerala by focusing mainly on spices and allied products, Mr Reginald Cooray, the Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion of Sri Lanka, has said.

Speaking at an interactive meeting organised by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Chamber Hall, he said by confronting the problems in the spices industry, both countries can explore more business opportunities.

Free Trade Agreement

After signing the ILFTA (Indo Lankan Free Trade Agreement), the bilateral trade between the two countries has crossed $3 billion. Over 400 products can be imported by India from Sri Lanka without import duty.

He pointed out that there are unexplored opportunities for Indian businessmen in the filed of rubber, furniture, hospitality industry, dairy, fisheries, infrastructure, medical tourism, eco tourism, ayurveda, food and beverage etc.

The Minister said that India and Sri Lanka faced common problems such as shortage of workers in agriculture. Young people were not taking up agriculture and he called for cooperation in mechanisation of spices cultivation and agriculture as a whole. He also called for the Indian knowhow and investment in processing spices produce such as pepper and cinnamon.

Preferred country

Emphasising the need for a new architecture in trade relations between the two countries, the Minister said that India continued to be a preferred country and Indian activities in Sri Lanka included automobiles and petroleum.

Sri Lanka can not compete with India in terms of volumes but the island country wants to concentrate on the quality of the produce and value addition for which the Minister invited Indian investments in Sri Lanka.

Mr Sam Wijesekara, Counsellor, SL Deputy High Commission, Chennai, explained about the business opportunities for Indian businessmen at Sri Lanka.

Mr Deepak L. Aswani, Chairman, KCCI, welcomed the gathering. Mr Anthony Thomas, Director – KCCI, and Mr Savio Mathew, Secretary – KCCI, also spoke on the occasion.

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