'Lanka's policy decisions highly appreciated'
The Sri Lankan government's efforts to improve the business
environment by tackling existing barriers to trade and streamlining
bureaucracy has to be highly appreciated, said British High Commissioner
John Rankin, speaking at the recently held Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing
Association AGM. He said that Sri Lanka has improved by ten places from
last year in the Global Competitiveness Index.
The government's policy decisions have helped buyers and exporters in
the apparel industry. The devaluing of the rupee, while recognizing the
knock on effects on manufacturing costs and the price of imported raw
In developing the Sri Lankan economy, the government has taken
initiatives to improve the country's business environment. Sri Lanka
needs to have closer relationships with the UK by encouraging more UK
companies to consider Sri Lanka as an ethical and profitable trading
partner and source of supply.
UK companies looking to operate in Sri Lanka expect that the
government will provide four things, namely certainty and stability;
increased transparency over government contracts; tax incentives to
allow them to grow; and confidence that their investments will not be
subject to arbitrary action.
UK companies also look for things from their government, which is why
we are taking decisive action to tackle our budget deficit and gear our
economic policies heavily in support of both foreign investment and
exports. We believe this is the only way to achieve strong, sustainable
and balanced growth, he said.
Last year the UK government published The Plan for Growth alongside
the 2011 budget, setting out a wide-reaching programme of structural
reforms to support enterprise and lay the foundations for a stronger and
more balanced economy in the medium term in making the UK the best place
in Europe to start, finance and grow a business by simplifying business
"Despite challenging times for Western economies, I believe that the
prospects for bilateral trade between the UK and Sri Lanka remain
bright. In 2011, Sri Lankan exports to the UK totalled over US $ 1.2
billion and imports from the UK were worth some US $ 245 million. That
made the UK Sri Lanka's second largest trading partner by volume. And
there are over 100 companies in Sri Lanka with UK affiliations including
major companies in the garment sourcing sector such as Marks and
Spencer, Tesco, Triumph and Next,"he said.