Sri Lanka investment agreements to reassure foreign investors: Mangala
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka must ratify investment protection agreements to give confidence to foreign investors whose money is needed to create more jobs and boost exports, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
“One quick and important way of demonstrating our good faith and signaling that Sri Lanka is open for business is by signing investment promotion and protection agreements,” he told parliament.
Signing investment promotion and protection agreements helps ensure that there is a transparent and level playing field for all investors, Samaraweera said.
“There is nothing to fear from these agreements: all they do is protect investors from expropriation, ensure fair compensation and ensure that companies can repatriate their profits.”
Samaraweera said the investment agreements are not one sided.
“Investor protection cuts both ways,” he explained. “They also cover investments by Sri Lankan companies abroad – which amount to a total stock of over 600 million US dollars.”
Ratifying the agreements means that Sri Lankan investors who own apparel factories in India, hydropower plants in Uganda and plantations in Indonesia will have greater protection from expropriation and unfair business practices in those countries, he said.
The agreements will help Sri Lanka secure accesses to investment from some of the fastest growing markets like India and China while also building up prospects for investments from other countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand.
“Obtaining diverse sources of FDI is also important for reducing our dependence on apparel and tea which account for over half the value of our exports,” said Samaraweera.
Investors are the key to moving from a low productivity, poor plantation economy to a high productivity upper-middle income manufacturing and services economy, he said.