All posts by rishadenglsh

Rishad speeds Pakistan talks in a day


Eleventh Sri Lanka-Pakistan trade talks successfully concluded on 27 November itself, the day it commenced and a day ahead of the conclusion which was expected on 28 November–and delegates from both sides accomplished the closure with a pleasant surprise-a ‘Happy B’day’ chorus! ”The Joint Economic Commission between our two countries should be held at regular intervals as convenient to both countries. This would certainly facilitate quick actions and seize emerging opportunities” said a satisfied Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 27 November in Battaramulla.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the closing ceremony of the 11th session of Sri Lanka – Pakistan Joint Economic Commission held at Waters Edge, Battaramulla. In attendance at Sri Lankan side with Minister Bathideen were his top officials as well as 42 top officials from 28 government Ministries and Departments-including the Ministries of Finance, Defence, Technology and Research, Higher Education, External Affairs, Industry and Commerce, Department of Commerce, Trade and Investment Policy, Atomic Energy Authority, Sri Lanka Standards Institute, EDB, BoI, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Customs. On the Pakistani side were Dr. Asmat Nawaz (Joint Secretary (EC)-Economic Affairs Division), Abdul Sattar Khokhar (Joint Secretary-Ministry of Industries & Production), Tanvir Ahmed Butt (Joint Secretary (IF)-Ministry of Finance), Yasir Mehmood (Director-Ministry of Foreign Affairs) along with (HE) Maj Gen (R) Qasim Qureshi,(High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka and his embassy staff). Air Chief Marshal (R) Jayalath Weerakkody (HE High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Pakistan), HE Major General Qasim Qureshi ( the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka), Minister Senior A.H.M. Fowzie, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussain Baila, Karunatilaka Amunugama (Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs) and Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) were among the others attending the event.


The evening closed with a pleasant surprise for both sides-with Minister Bathiudeen being invited to revel in the excitement of cutting and serving the Waters Edge cake that arrived at the ceremonial table to mark his 41st birthday falling on the same day, and many at the ceremony immediately joined in chorus for the ‘Happy B’day’ melody.


The 27 November session was expected to continue through to a close on 28 November but since both sides were able to speedily resolve almost all pending matters by 27 November afternoon, the closing ceremony too was held on the same day evening at Waters Edge, Battaramulla. Agreed minutes of the session were signed by both sides at the evening’s closing ceremony. With the establishment of the Joint Economic Commission between the two countries at Ministerial level back  in 1974, 10 such Joint sessions were already concluded and the 11th session began on 27 November in Colombo further strengthening bilateral trade, economic, culture, education, and technical cooperation.


According to the Department of Commerce, Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region after India. The YoY bilateral trade has increased by 6% in 2012 to $ 433.69 Mn. A substantial growth in bilateral trade is seen in both exports and imports, especially after Free Trade Agreement between the two countries was implemented in 2005. The value of total trade between the two countries has increased by 174% from US $ 158 Mn in 2005 to US $. 433.69 Mn in 2012. From 2005 to the third quarter of 2013, FDI from Pakistan to Sri Lanka stood at $ 7.5 Mn (cumulative) across 25 investment projects (including Section 16).


“We are very happy to see that our two delegations were able to discuss and deliberate on each and every item of the agenda in detail in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, with a view to achieving the set objectives of the Joint Economic Commission. I would like to appreciate all the officials from both sides for their excellent and dedicated deliberations and contributions at this Joint Commission session. You would agree that it is very important to implement the decisions taken at this session, which have been incorporated into the Minutes. I am confident that the relevant Ministries and organizations will make their utmost efforts, to coordinate and follow –up the decisions and proposals in the Agreed Minutes as relevant to them” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “I am indeed very glad to mention that the successful conclusion of the 11th  Session of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Joint Economic Commission marks another significant milestone, in the history of our long – standing friendly relations. I have no doubt that this Session would pave the way to further widen deepen and strengthen the relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. I am sure you would join me in emphasizing the fact that the Joint Economic Commission between the two countries should be held at regular intervals as convenient  to both our countries. This would certainly facilitate quick actions and seize emerging opportunities which are of mutual interest to both countries.”


“Pakistan attaches great importance to the Government of Sri Lanka and people of Sri Lanka. Pakistan’s leadership stands committed to enhancing our existing political and economic ties and works closely with the visionary leadership of Sri Lanka to achieve rapid development within the region. I see Sri Lanka as a potential popular tourist destination for the people of Pakistan” said Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi (Pakistani Federal Minister of Industries & Production), addressing the ceremony. “I am happy to note that SriLankan airlines would be flying more often to Pakistan and that will increase the people to people contact and will have economic, social and cultural returns. I would like to emphasise upon cultural exchanges which have the potential of bringing our peoples even closer. During the course of proceedings, both sides had detailed deliberations and achieved mutual understanding on a broad spectrum of subjects” Minister Jatoi added.

Rishad to Belgium: ‘Use our FTAs to access 1.3 Bn SA market!’



While its own visiting investor delegation made busy preparations for one of the largest B2B’ sessions to be held in Colombo, Belgium, a top buyer of diamonds from Sri Lanka, declared that the forthcoming FTA with China ‘a major step for Sri Lanka’. “Sri Lanka’s forthcoming FTA with China is very interesting -and very important. In fact, it is a very important milestone and a major step for Sri Lanka” said Pierre Pringiers (Honorary Consul of Belgium in Sri Lanka) on 30 December in Colombo.


Consul Pringiers, who was accompanying the visiting 23 member Belgium business and investment delegation to Sri Lanka, was addressing the Lankan team led by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 30 December during the Belgium delegation’s meeting with Sri Lanka in Colombo. The visiting 26 member Belgium business and investment delegation is being led by Celine Fremault, the Minister of Economy, Employment, Scientific Research, Trade and Foreign Trade of Brussels-Capital Region. Among the Belgium firms with Minister Fremault were BESIX (large scale building construction including Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, already active in Sri Lanka), Schréder (urban and street lighting), Sitomeca (corrugated steel, already active in Sri Lanka), CFE (construction, real estate, rail & road, marine engineering, already active in Sri Lanka) NAIA (fresh product import & export and supermarkets), MyGo Worldwide (travel software), reps from Wallonia’s Foreign Trade and Investment Agency, and Brussels Invest and Export. On Monday 02 December, the visiting firms are scheduled for more than 40 B2B sessions in Colombo (organised by Hon Consul Belgium and European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka) with such Lankan corporates as Aitken Spence, Cargills, Mackinnons Travels (of John Keells Holdings), Nikini Automation, MTD Walkers, Havael, Jagro, Access and Maliban. Along with Minister Bathiudeen, also present were Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), Lakshman Vasantha Perera (Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, R.D.S. Kumararatne (Director General of Commerce) and DoC officials as well as Shehan Kumar (Deputy General Manager-European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka).


Brussels-Capital Region creates one fifth of Belgian GDP, hosts Belgium’s capital Brussles as well as the seats of the European institutions and has a strong service sector.


Addressing Minister Bathiudeen, Minister Fremault said: “This mission is one of the firsts from Brussels-Capital Region to Sri Lanka. We believe that trade between Sri Lanka and Brussels-Capital Region is low and there is yet unrealised potential in this regard. Today I have brought several top companies all of which are looking to partner with Sri Lanka. Infrastrucutre and many niche companies. Their sectors of operation are relevant to Sri Lanka’s new constructions. Some of them are already familiar with Sri Lanka as well.”


Minister Fremault is in a three day visit to Colombo arriving from her two day tour of Chennai. She will be headed to Hong Kong next. “I wanted to holiday in Sri Lanka this X’mas but since I could not find any hotel accommodations for me, I have to postpone it to next year” added a smiling Minister Fremault.



Responding to Minister Fremault, Minister Bathiudeen said: “You remember we discussed important ways to improve trade cooperation between us when I met you in Brussels. Your visit to Colombo is important for our relationship and investment activities. We need to encourage visits of business leaders of both countries which will create new beneficial opportunities. Sri Lanka’s trade with Belgium was $ 826 Mn last year. 13 Belgian firms have invested in Sri Lanka. Belgian firms investing in Sri Lanka can make use of our FTAs with India and Pakistan to access a 1.3 Bn South Asian market. Whatever the type of support Belgium needs-be it the Belgian trade counsellor or the investors-we shall extend our fullest cooperation and coordination.”


According to the Department of Commerce, bilateral trade between both countries has shown an upward trend for the last few years (except for 2012) rising by 11.2% since 2008’s $ 743.12 Mn. The total trade turnover in 2012 stood at $ 826.37 Mn. Sri Lanka has had a favorable balance of trade with Belgium over the years. Considerable diamond volumes shuttle between Belgium and Sri Lanka annually, dominating bilateral trade. In 2012, Belgium competed with UK, India, UAE, Russian Federation, Israel, and Hong Kong, to buy $ 241 Mn of diamonds from Sri Lanka.



Pierre Pringiers (Honorary Consul of Belgium in Sri Lanka), addressing Minister Bathiudeen, said: “Sri Lanka’s forthcoming FTA with China is very interesting -and very important. In fact, it is a very important milestone and a major step for Sri Lanka. China markets are difficult for everyone around the world. If Sri Lanka has assets such as the forthcoming FTA, it will greatly help the country to get into the China markets. I am also happy to say that I personally helped start solid tyre making in Sri Lanka when we started Bergougnan Lanka with AMW in 1980 and thereafter in 1984 Loadstar, with Jinasena. Since then, Sri Lanka has now become number one solid industrial tyre supplier in the world. And today twenty companies are following my trail since 1980. Sri Lanka is also well positioned to become a yacht hub in Asia.”


“We are a large Belgian group in building copnstruction, infrastructure, environmental and industrial projects. We work in many fields including power plants, geothermals, hotels, high-rise buildings including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai” said Paul Callebaut, BESIX  Sri Lanka Resident Manager, who accompanied the delegation. “Burj Khalifa in Dubai is one of our top references. We built it with South Korea’s Samsung and Emirates’ Arabtec Construction. We are now looking forward to do high rise buildings in Colombo. We are already working with the Water Board in Monaragala in one bottling project. Other projects, other than water, also are in the pipeline.” BESIX reported a turnover of $ 2.8 Bn in 2012.

‘Exports increase by 1.07% to $ 7.3 Bn!’


An eager Sri Lanka launched the business side of its forthcoming CHOGM -and announced its new export turnaround to a packed presser on 22 October. “I am happy to say that our exports from January to September this year shows an increase of 1.07%, in comparison to the same period in 2012. This shows that, having faced the international market challenges our exports are now gradually strengthening” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 22 October.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the official media announcement and special presser on “Reflection of Sri Lanka” held at the Ministry of Mass Media and Information in Colombo 5 on 22 October. Along with Minister Bathiudeen, also present were Susantha Punchinilame (Deputy Minister of Economic Development), Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena  (Minister of Investment Promotion), Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), Charitha Herath (Secretary, Ministry of Mass Media and Information), officials of Sri Lanka Tourism, BoI, Tea Board, EDB, Gem and Jewellery Authority, and Ministry of Economic Development.


“Reflection of Sri Lanka’ is an exposition showcasing the trade, tourism and investment potential of the country, is to be held in parallel to the CHOGM. ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka’ event will be held from 13 to 17 November. ‘Reflections of Sri Lanka’ is co-organized by, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the EDB functioning under it, joined by Sri Lanka Tourism, and The Board of Investment. Already 700 exhibitors and almost 1000 buyers have come forward to EDB to enlist for ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka.’



Speaking about new export growth, Minister Bathiudeen said: “I am happy to inform you today that we are seeing an export turnaround according to our latest export data. As of September our total export value for 2013 is recorded at, $ 7314 Mn. Our exports from, January to September this year therefore shows 1.07% increase in comparison to the same period in 2012. This shows that having faced the international market challenges our exports are now gradually strengthening. This latest export growth is helped by footwear exports growing by 85%, export crops such as spices, growing by 36.8%, diamonds, gems and jewelry exports, growing by 11.28%, fisheries exports, growing by 11%, and apparel exports, growing by 5.64%. Our strategic hub and logistical positioning is a major force in our development. The Free Trade Agreements that we have with India and Pakistan, on 8200 products, and more importantly our forthcoming FTA with China which is world’s largest consumer market are factors that international investors cannot find in many other emerging economies. Even our service sector is attractive for investments.  The 2011 “A.T Kearney Global Services Location Index” places Sri Lanka at a respectable rank of 21 above Australia, France, and Portugal!”

Detailing the ‘Reflection’ event, Minister Bathiudeen revealed: “‘This event will be held in parallel to the forthcoming landmark event, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as part of the leadership vision of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The CHOGM main event is represented by 54 Heads of States. The event will highlight the country’s capabilities, high knowledge base, and our dedication, to compliance standards together with tourism and investment opportunities. More importantly, this is an exposition hosting 700 exhibitors, displaying the best of Sri Lanka’s diverse products for export”.

“Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), addressing the event, said: “This is a rare but a very opportune moment to enhance the image of Sri Lanka to the international business. Almost 1000 buyers have already come forward to EDB to enlist for Reflection of Sri Lanka. We have even enlisted 100 technology providers. We are opening the event to the public for no less than three days – on 14, 15 and 17 November.”

Bandula Egodage, Chiarman/CEO of EDB, making a detailed presentation of Reflection of Sri Lanka, said: “Reflection gives the rare opportunity to our export community to meet international buyers in one location, right here in Sri Lanka. The EDB is using a multi-channel promotion strategy involving e-catalogues, e-brochures, web banners, press and electronic advertisements to engage the international buyers to our export products. Already 300 exporters, 700 exhibitors, 200 export oriented SMEs, 75 machinery exporters, 100 technology providers, to enlist for ‘Reflection of Sri Lanka’ – some of them being participants of Expo 2012 held in March 2012. There will also be exhibitor pavilions with sector branding. More importantly, many B2B sessions are planned with the visiting international business.”

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena  (Minister of Investment Promotion), addressing the event, said: “Our target is to source large and medium scale investors to Sri Lanka. We have ready information and procedures on 56 investment sectors in Sri Lanka awaiting the visiting international investors. We are not upgrading our infrastructure solely for the CHOGM-it’s part of our infrastructure development plan!”


8000 products open through our FTAs – Rishad


The forthcoming China-Sri Lanka FTA is the biggest development in Sino-Lanka cooperation history since the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact. And China is keen to see the groundwork on this FTA completed by December this year.  “My mission is to start the China-Sri Lanka FTA process. The forthcoming FTA is the biggest development in China-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation since the historic 1952 Rubber Rice Pact between the two countries. We expect that the preparatory process of the forthcoming FTA to be completed by December this year. Then we can go to the next stage in 2014” said a confident Yu Jianhua, the powerful Deputy International Trade Representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China  on 17 October in Colombo.

Jianhua was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) during his apresent on the occasion with Minister Bathiudeen were Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) and officials of the Department of Commerce.


Jianhua’s powerful portfolio covers the Chinese Department of International Trade & Economic Affairs, the Department of WTO Affairs (China WTO Notification and Inquiry Center), the Department of Asian Affairs, China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, China Association of International Trade, and China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.  According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, the total trade turnover between Sri Lanka and China which stood at US $ 658.94 Mn in 2005 has increased by a massive 306% to $ 2676.13 Mn by 2012. In the  corresponding period, exports to China increased by 286% to $108 Mn. This  is  an achievement  considering  the  fact   that of  the 50  Asian Countries  only 8 -including  Sri Lanka – were  able  to  maintain  a positive Export  growth  to China since 2008. Latest  statistics  show   that  China  has also entered the first  25 export   destinations  for  Sri Lankan  products.

“Sri Lanka is a priority country for my MOFCOM (China Ministry of Commerce). The FTA will not only upgrade trade levels between Sri Lanka and China but will also enhance trade skills of both countries as well.  We will work diligently in our joint efforts. Before coming to Sri Lanka I looked at our trade with Sri Lanka very carefully in aspects such as tariffs, market access in China, diversifying of Sri Lanka’s exports, and overall enhancement of Sri Lanka’s export potentials to China. The FTA is not only for the sake of trade but something beyond-to materialize and institutionalize our strategic cooperation partnership as mandated by leaders of both countries. We are also encouraging Chinese firms to come and involve in Sri Lanka’s economic development. And my MOFCOM is thankful to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce for its ongoing support. I am also honoured to Chair this morning’s meeting with your Treasury which was a successful meeting with frank and friendly exchanges” Jianhua said.


Minister Bathiudeen, responding to Minister Jianhua, said: “This FTA is the most promising development in China-Sri Lanka trade relations, thanks to the initiative of (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It will be stepping stone in our ongoing trade with China and we are very hopeful that with the implementation of the FTA, our trade with China will grow to a significant level. I am also pleased to hear that your meetings with Treasury has resulted in successful outcomes which is good news for our export and business communities. I invite Chinese investors for Joint Venture partnerships in textiles, mineral sands, graphite and mining as well as tourism sectors and access the huge South Asian market using our FTAs with India and Pakistan where more than 8000 export product lines are open for them upon 30% or more value addition.”                    

Secretary Siriwardena, apprising Minister Jianhua, said: “Our Treasury has also given the go-ahead for our FTA technical team on the FTA Tech teams of both sides have identified aspects and sectors of cooperation.”

During the in-depth discussions on 17 October noon, both Ministers also focused on such additional aspects of cooperation as Lankan rural sector /SME development and tourism with Chinese assistance.


‘You are our third largest foreign financier!’–Rishad to Japan

Japan is Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier-and Lanka’s bilateral trade with Japan is also on a promising trend. “In 2012, Japan was Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier after China and India. Lanka – Japan trade too has been growing -an increase of 56% from 2002!” said a pleased Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 14 October.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the high powered Japanese biz and investment delegation – one of the biggest such officials Japanese teams to arrive in Sri Lanka (for investment or otherwise) -at the JETRO reception held at Colombo Hilton on the eve of 14 October.  Accompanying the delegation (and also present at the reception) was Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman of JETRO, Japan.  JETRO Colombo revealed that the event is a collaboration with Sri Lanka-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and the Japan-Sri Lanka Business Cooperation Committee with support from the Embassy of Japan in Colombo. Also present at the event were officials of Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the EDB, the Department of Commerce, members Lankan business and exporter communities and (HE) Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka.



During the official working visit to Japan of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in March 2013 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, both leaders in their joint statement noted “the need to dispatch a Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) joint investment mission to Sri Lanka, as a follow-up to the investment seminar that would take place during the President’s visit to Japan, to conduct JETRO’s survey on needs and strategies for Japan-Sri Lanka business, and to dispatch experts from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) in order to explore the possibility of bilateral cooperation.”

During the event, Minister Bathiudeen also made it a point to meet visiting and already present Japanese investors in Sri Lanka individually and inquired about their wishes and concerns.

“Japan is one of the ‘most crucial’ global partners of Sri Lanka’s trade and development history. Last year, after China and India, Japan was the third largest Foreign Financier to Sri Lanka as a Development Partner. Japan committed $ 521 Mn to Sri Lanka in that year.  As for private investments, 39 Japanese projects are in operation here. In fact, Japan is one of the pioneering global investors in Sri Lanka, entering in the immediate aftermath of the opening of our economy in 1977. Since then, top Japanese multinationals have regularly invested here. In fact, Japan is a major global player in modernizing Sri Lanka’s telecom and logistics sectors as well as mega scale infrastructure projects in our recent history.

On behalf of people of Sri Lanka, I extend my thanks to Japan for extending such support to Sri Lanka” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “Sri Lanka – Japan bilateral trade has been growing and in 2012 it stood at $ 770 Mn, an increase of 56% from 2002.  In the first half of this year alone bilateral trade levels were a promising $ 413 Mn. Today I invite you to invest in Sri Lanka for win-win partnerships, and access the huge South Asian markets. Sri Lanka’s FTAs with India and Pakistan, gives you a ready access-point, to these markets, through more than, 4000 export product lines, and thanks to the efforts of (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa we can claim a stable economic growth as a middle income country with an expected GDP rate of seven percent, which are strong supporting factors for international investors. Our share market too has a respectable valuation among markets of many emerging economies with a price to earnings ratio of 12.”

Outlining the promising investment opportunities for Japanese biz in Sri Lanka, Minister Bathiudeen announced: “I encourage you to focus on our apparel sector, and also pleased to suggest other sectors for you, to consider motor vehicle assembly, warehousing, deep sea fishing, construction of cold stores, urban commercial and leisure property development, agro processing and agro technology, marina and marina related commercial property development, fish canning and processing factories, fresh vegetables and fruit exports, IT/BPO sector, tourist transportation and tourist leisure activities.”


We are Upgrading Quality – Rishad


A remote, government controlled hospital has clinched the National Quality Award giving a shocking wake up call to Lankan private and manufacturing sectors. And almost one third of our GDP consists of industrial output while Sri Lanka’s historic industry growth rate surpasses its GDP growth rate. “Almost one third of our GDP now consists of the industry sector and our historic industry growth rate, appears to surpass the historic growth rate of GDP itself” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 14 October.



Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the 19th Sri Lanka National Quality Awards (SLNQA) held on 14 October at BMICH, Colombo. A standard bearer of quality the SLNQA, organized and implemented annually by the Marketing and Promotion division of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI), puts recipients on the cutting edge of an international quality competition. On 14 October, large, medium and small scale Lankan organizations were competing in manufacturing, services, healthcare and education sectors. The criteria used, on 14 October event were similar to the criteria used for the “Malcom Baldrige” Quality Award in USA which is used in more than 80 countries for their national quality awards. During the 14 October event, Ampara General Hospital, a state controlled hospital in remote Ampara, has clinched the National Quality Award in which many Lankan public and private entities were competing in a tight, neck-to-neck race for excellence.

“It is clear that we are experiencing an event of international standards today” said Minister Bathiudeen, having congratulated the winners, and continued: “Thanks to the efforts of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, one third of our GDP now consists of the industry sector. More importantly, in 2012 our industries grew by 10.3%, and I am pleased to say that our historic industry growth rate appears to surpass, the historic growth rate of GDP itself. My Ministry has been pioneering quality standards in our industrial efforts. Having identified the food processing sector as priority sector we have upgraded our assistance to it seeing the strong need for technology advancement, and obtaining of food quality, safety and environmental certifications in its value chain.  In June this year with the support of a US food scientist, for the first time in Sri  Lanka we facilitated awareness on much needed international compliance rules for Lankan food exporters.  We are supporting even other Lankan industries to obtain such global certifications as HACCP, GMP and ISO for compliance. It is obvious that when it comes to industrial quality, it goes hand in hand with new innovations. Supporting this concept is the National Intellectual Property Office under my Ministry, for the 11 year period of 2002 to 2012 registered 2,250 new patents, and 2,581 new designs in Sri Lanka.  Also, one of the best examples of our quality is the international demand for our apparels. For example, Ms Yamatani Eriko a Member of Japanese House of Councillors on September 27 personally informed me that the $ 122 Bn Japanese apparel market is looking for more and more “Made in Sri Lanka” apparels. Japanese buyers mostly look for high quality products and this request shows the special recognition for our apparels in world’s third largest apparel market. We are also supporting quality enhancement, for our rubber sector by strengthening lab testing facilities in Sri Lanka. Demand for Sri Lankan rubber is, continuously on the increase in world markets, as a result of, our quality compliance.”


‘Lanka honoured to be a Partner Country at Izmir’ – Rishad

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) addresses the massive audience at the inaugural session of 2013 Izmir International Fair (the 82nd international multi-product exhibition series in Izmir, Turkey) on 29 August. Sri Lanka was the partner country at the 82nd show held in Izmir, which is also a candidate city for the global EXPO 2020 event.


Sri Lanka, honoured as the first ever Asian Partner country at the Izmir Int’l Fair series in Turkey, has successfully clinched several trade and business deals at this global event, while also pushing its historic trade ties with the easternmost NATO power to new levels. “We consider Turkey as one of the most important Trade Partners with high potentials for trade growth, and the present bilateral trade at $ 190 Mn is a credible starting point towards bigger trade, which in turn, has shown an increasing trend over last five years” said Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) addressing the huge audience at the inaugural session of 2013 Izmir International Fair (the 82nd international multi-product exhibition series) on 29 August in Izmir, Turkey.

Sri Lanka was the partner country at the 82nd show -and also to be honoured as the first ever Partner Country from Asia at this series- held in Izmir, which in turn, is a candidate city for the global EXPO 2020 event.

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka-third from left) goes all smiles representing Lanka as the first Asian Partner Country at the Izmir Int’l Fair series in Turkey, and joins the other invited dignitaries from 39 countries during the inauguration ceremonies of the 2013 Izmir International Fair (the 82nd international multi-product exhibition series in Izmir city, Turkey) on 29 August.


Turkey has honoured Sri Lanka by making it a partner country at the 82nd Izmir Int’l show held from 29 August to 02 September in Izmir.  Izmir series is one of the largest-and wide ranging- industry fairs in the northern hemisphere encompassing many macro industries and their sub-sectors, which included, among others, food products & technology,  automotives, furniture, decoration, household, appliances, white goods, passenger cars, trade vehicles, bicycle, motorcycles,  construction and building materials, construction machinery, agricultural machinery, farming tools, hvac and sub-industries, electric, electronics, computer, it, telecommunication, general machineries, chemical and petrochemical products and related technologies.


No less than 14 Lankan exporters and 7 stakeholder institutions were travelling with Minister Bathiudeen to Izmir Int’l Fair as part of the 45 strong Lankan delegation. A minimum of 130 buyer leads were generated for Sri Lanka, according to the EDB. Immediate negotiations for Pure Ceylon Tea orders exceeding $65000 totals, materialised during the Izmir fair, along with other shipment-orders for coconut products, gem and jewellery, herbal teas, and ceramics. Among investment inquiries received were, spare parts, bicycle tyres, motor cycle assembly and infrastructure development projects.  46 B2B meetings, facilitated by EDB, were successfully concluded. Sri Lankan delegation, also facilitated by the EDB, concluded successful biz-meets with the official delegations of Indonesia, Namibia, Lybia, Izmir Chamber of Commerce and Agean Chamber of Industry and Turkey’s Small and Medium Industry Development Organization, KOSGEB.


“On behalf of HE the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka, I extend my sincere thanks to the Government of Turkey in giving this opportunity to Sri Lanka to act as the Partner Country in this international event, which is a great honour for us”  said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “Sri Lanka’s major exports to Turkey represent Ceylon Tea which is world renowned for its colour, flavor and aroma, and also Garments, Rubber products, Coir Based products including activated carbon. We import Woven Fabric, machinery and other equipments from Turkey. Sri Lanka can offer many other products to the world as well, with her rich natural resources. To name a few, natural gems including world’s best Blue Sapphires, Spices with inherent qualities  including world famous Ceylon Cinnamon and mineral resources. There are ample opportunities to set up value added industries in various sectors, targeting local & international trade. For Sri Lanka, Turkey could be considered as one of the gateways to the EU region and the same way, Turkey could consider Sri Lanka as one of the gateways to the Asia, as Sri Lanka’s strategic location which is geo-politically important, and the opportunities made available under the two Free Trade Agreements with India and Pakistan and many more bilateral arrangements that are under negotiation.  Against this background, I consider that Sri Lanka’s participation at the Izmir fair is very timely and definitely plays an important role to enhance trade acting as a catalyst for the bilateral initiatives to proceed with the joint economic partnership efforts on accelerated mode and thereby achieve sustainable economic development for both economies. I have been given to understand that this international fair provides a platform to have interaction among the exhibitors who have come from almost 35 destinations which will create business interactions to promote international trade under one roof” Minister Bathiudeen said.


‘Lanka a multi-ethnic society’-(HE) the President in Mannar

Former LTTE Political head for the Mannar district, Eranbamoorthi Sivanendraraja (second from left) greets (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the UPFA rally held at the Mannar public grounds on 11 September, under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and organised by Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce & MP, Vanni District-third from left).   

The multi-ethnic Sri Lankan society now lives in peace. “All the ethnic and religious groups in the country are now able to live in peace and harmony irrespective of their orientations” said (HE) the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 11 September in Mannar.


Addressing the UPFA rally held at the Mannar public grounds on 11 September, (HE) the President Rajapaksa added:  “I will not let separatist elements to promote division and disrupt the harmony to fulfill narrow political gains. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic society of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people and others, enjoying diversity.”


The 11 September rally was organised by Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce & MP, Vanni District). Raufeek and Arafath, Pradeshiya Sabha members from Mannar district also joined the All Ceylon Muslim Congress led by Minister Bathuideen during this event.  


(HE) the President Rajapaksa also emphasized the need to protect future generations from the separatist elements. “Do not to be swayed by false propaganda dished out by the separatists. Commit yourselves to respect all religious and ethnic groups and to safeguard the hard won freedom” (HE) the President Rajapaksa added.  


A set of LTTE cadres led by Former LTTE Political head for the Mannar district, Eranbamoorthi Sivanendraraja alias Robert, openly showed their appreciation and support to the President and government for their efforts to develop the Northern regions.