‘Current crisis, an opportunity not a problem’:
Sri Lanka greatly values economic ties with EU - Anura
Sri Lanka greatly values its economic relations with the European
Union (EU), one of the leading trading partners since the country’s
independence, which has achieved cohesion in many vital areas governing
the economy, said Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment
Promotion for the European Union Business Summit Anura Priyadarshana
investment, the key to progress
He was addressing the gathering at the first ever EU Business Summit
in Sri Lanka at the BMICH yesterday.
He said that European Union Investments in Sri Lanka represent a
total investment of over one billion dollars and employ 73,000 workers
in sectors such as textiles, IT, BPO, gems and jewellery, soft toys,
coir products, light and heavy engineering and electronic products. In
2008, EU companies invested USD 354 million in Sri Lanka.
These enterprises originated from Belgium, Cyprus, the Czeh Republic,
Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Sweden and the UK. The EU’s economic presence in Sri Lanka represents
269 factories and other enterprises that include both fully owned
European Union ventures and joint ventures with Sri Lankan companies, he
Minister Yapa said that there is a huge potential from the
re-integration of the North and East to the rest of the country and
there are huge challenges ahead as well for the nation.
When the internal conflict comes to an end people will be able to
plan their development as the conflict is one of the deciding variables.
He said that this Summit is, therefore, highly opportune in the present
economic and political context and hoped there will be many
opportunities to expand bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and the EU
which will be mutually beneficial.
Trade and investment will be the key to progress and Sri Lanka will
need this in the present context of economic uncertainty. We must not
look at the current crisis as a problem but rather as an opportunity
upon which we can build our future.
The Summit’s purpose is to look at options available to Sri Lanka and
particularly at strategies for rebuilding the nation and unleashing Sri
Lanka’s true potential.
This is absolutely necessary as normalcy will return and investor
confidence will improve. The most important issue is how to make up for
the destruction and loss of opportunity, estimated at USD 200 billion
that the country has incurred in three decades of conflict apart from
human suffering and damage, he said.
Sri Lanka will need more than ever the support of friendly nations to
address economic disparities between the regions to solve many of the
social problems that are at the root of conflict. The EU and friendly
countries have an important role to play in this vital endeavour, Yapa