US to boost Sri Lanka relations, help draw more investments: Secretary Kerry
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – The United States will support Sri Lanka’s efforts to boost democracy, draw more investment and strengthen relations by establishing an annual dialogue, visiting US Secretary John Kerry said in Colombo.
"In this journey to restore your democracy, the American people will stand with you," Kerry said in Colombo in a joint briefing with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
"We intend to broaden and deepen our partnership with you. And to that end the Foreign Minister and I agreed to establish an annual partnership agreement with our two governments."
"I have also asked teams from our government quickly in order to provide technical assistance as the government of Sri Lanka embraces these important reforms."
"And we will soon have members of that team from the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department come here in order to work with the government on economic measures that could be taken to provide greater investment and greater growth."
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Sri Lanka was already drawing up a transparent rule-based framework to ease investment entry.
There are several areas where the United States can help Sri Lanka, including American businesses making direct investments in the island, he said.
Sri Lanka, he said, is now a middle-income country and can no longer afford to rely solely on foreign aid.
It is in the government’s best interest to attract foreign direct investment as part of a broader strategy to kick-start the economy.
“Sri Lanka has been considered a paradise for tourists for many years, but our government is now also keen to make Sri Lanka an investor’s paradise,” Samaraweera declared.
“In order to do so, we are in the process of cultivating a rule-based investment climate. I hope that American investors will take advantage of the many new economic opportunities now opening up in Sri Lanka.”