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Canadian High Commissioner urges SL to remain open for trade

The High Commissioner for Canada in Sri Lanka David McKinnon has called for Sri Lanka to have open economic policies to attract Canadian investment.

“If Sri Lanka remains outward looking and open to trade and investment, there are exciting opportunities emerging here and an appetite among Canadian firms to be a part of it,” he said at the 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Sri Lanka – Canada Business Council (SLCBC) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) held recently at the premises of the latter.

He added that the core strengths of Sri Lanka remain intact despite recent setbacks.

“Canada has been a long-term partner of Sri Lanka with Canadians and Canadian-owned companies responsible for creating jobs for thousands of Sri Lankans and contributing to economic prosperity. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic and the tragic Easter attacks of 2019, the fundamental strengths of Sri Lanka remain – an educated and resilient population, strong relationships with countries in South Asia and the wider region, fantastic natural attributes, and a strategic location astride major trade routes in the fastest-growing region in the world.”

The Sri Lankan Government has been moving towards a closed trade policy this year amidst the economic impact of Covid-19, with many nonessential imports restricted or banned. The Sri Lankan Department of Commerce statistics showed that total Canada-Sri Lanka trade in 2018 stood at $ 436 million, a near 10% increase from the previous year.

McKinnon was the Chief Guest of the AGM as well as the Patron of the SLCBC, which was launched on 14 August 1991 under the aegis of the CCC. The prime objectives of the Council are promotion of trade/ investment, services, tourism, and joint ventures between Sri Lanka and Canada.

Hydromec International (Pvt.) Ltd. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rajah Abeysinghe was elected as the President of the SLSBC for the year 2020/2021.  

In his address, Abeysinghe said: “Over the last 29 years, the SLSBC has seen a continuous growth under the leadership of successive presidents along with the respective management committees. With the renewed development agenda between our two countries, our council will have to play an important role by lobbying the Sri Lankan Government to create an inclusive environment to increase bilateral trade and investment between Canada and Sri Lanka, as well as create the required awareness of the market opportunities that exist for Sri Lankan firms.”

Priyantha Padmasiri and Ong Jhon Seon were elected as Vice Presidents while Lionel D.C. Silva serves as the Immediate Past President.  

Abans PLC, Ceyline Shipping Ltd., MAC Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd., McLarens Holdings Ltd., and Samson Rubber Products (Pvt.) Ltd. were elected from the membership to serve on the Executive Committee of the Council.

Source : The Morning

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