Lanka-Israel to expand bilateral trade
Sri Lanka and Israel are expected to further expand bilateral
economic relations and trade in the following years which could see the
total trade between the two nations rise from US $ 100 million to US
$250 million plus within the next two years.
“Bilateral trade between the two countries rose from US $68 million
three years back to US $100 million plus in 2011. If we do all the right
things we can reach
US $250 million plus in a couple of years” ambassador of Israel based
in New Delhi Alon Ushpiz said in an interview with the Daily News
Speaking on the first ever bilateral consultations between the two
nations which took place in Colombo on April 20, Ushpiz said the two
sides had discussed ways and means of promoting bilateral relations and
opportunities for further cooperation in various fields such as
agriculture, tourism, trade and employment.
“This match between Israel and Sri Lanka is a match between skilled
people when it comes to innovating and producing” he added commenting on
the recent meeting.
Ushpiz said that the two countries had also agreed to raise interest
among the private sector from both sides to have direct flights between
Tel Aviv and Colombo.
On the subject of employment, the ambassador said that Sri Lankan
migrant worker aspirants could expect more employment opportunities in
Israel in the future.
A large number of Sri Lankans work in Israel at present mainly as
Care Givers and in the Agricultural field as well.
The ambassador said that Israel authorities may look to offer jobs
for Lankans in the construction field as well.
He also said that the Israeli government was very conscious of the
labour rights and welfare of migrant workers on its soil and stressed
that they mete out equal treatment to all workers irrespective of
differences. The minimum wage of US $ 1,000 for all workers apply for
both locals and foriegners alike, he added.
On the subject of tourism he said that Israeli’s find Sri lanka as an
attractive destination and efforts to expand cooperation in the sector
would be discussed in future meetings.
The ambassador also called for a higher level of mutual exposure
between representatives of two nations.
He expressed confidence that the annual consultations will provide a
solid platform to further strengthen their multifaceted relations and
promote closer economic cooperation for mutual benefit.
Speaking on historic ties between the two nations ambassador Ushpiz
said “Friendship with Sri Lanka is a long one and a long lasting one”.