Singapore firms keen on Sri Lanka, foreign minister says
Jul 18, 2017 22:12 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rapid development has attracted growing interest among Singaporean companies, visiting Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said.
The two countries aim to conclude a Free Trade Agreement between them before the end of the year, he told a news conference after talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake Tuesday.
Balakrishnan is on an official visit to Sri Lanka from 17th -21st July and called on President Maithripala Sirisena. He will also have talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan during his visit.
“I am encouraged to see the rapid developments in Colombo and to see how the government is capitalising on this by pushing reforms and greater economic engagement with the rest of the world,” Balakrishnan said.
“Because of this, there is a surge of interest on the part of Singapore companies in Sri Lanka because they can see for themselves the growth potential in this place.”
Balakrishnan said there are currently more than 350 Singapore companies in Sri Lanka and they are engaged in activities across a wide range of sectors which include food and beverage, manufacturing, IT, cybersecurity and power.
He said it is incumbent on both governments to create a conducive climate for businesses and businesses look forward to stability, to predictability, reliability.
“One component of this is the conclusion of our negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore,” Balakrishnan said.
“We’re both committed to try to complete this before the end of the year. It will be a modern, comprehensive, high quality, ambitious Free Trade Agreement. It will demonstrate to the world that both of us are open for business and we encourage all investments.”
(COLOMBO, July 18, 2017)