Anand Sharma to lead high-level Ministerial Delegation to Sri Lanka

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New Delhi, August 1: Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles Anand Sharma will lead a high-level ministerial delegation to Sri Lanka coinciding with the ‘India Show’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the High Commission of India in Colombo from August 3-5, 2012. Sharma said: “India attaches great importance to its ties with Sri Lanka. It’s a relationship that is truly strategic and is rooted in history and civilisational roots. We are committed to realise full potential of our two nations in trade, investment and economic cooperation.”

The “India Show” is an initiative of Government of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the CII. The event is supported by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC).

Sharma’s visit to Sri Lanka assumes greater significance in the context of enhanced economic and strategic cooperation between the two nations. Shri Sharma’s visit would set the tone for doubling the bilateral trade at USD 9 billion by 2017 (currently USD 4.5 billion), and also move forward the dialogue process for early conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

During his visit, Sharma will meet H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka; Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development; Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce; Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs and discuss the larger scope for strengthening the bilateral economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

As part of India Show, CII will lead a high-powered 25 member Industry delegation led by Rajive Kaul, Past President, CII & Chairman, NICCO Corporation Ltd. and co-led by R Seshasayee, Past President, CII & Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Ltd. from August 3-4, 2012. This initiative is CII’s continuing engagement towards strengthening the business cooperation between industry groups of both countries.

The members of the CEOs delegation will participate at the Conference on “Doubling Indo-Lanka Bilateral Trade and Investment within Five Years” organised by CII and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on August 3, 2012. Besides this, a business delegation from India will also visit India Show in Colombo and participate at the B2B meetings organized by CII & Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“The India Show, with a participation of over 108 companies will showcase Indian innovations and manufacturing prowess on a wide range of products and services which includes automobile, engineering, infrastructure, tourism, food processing, information & communication technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, handloom and handicrafts, education and many more. This strong participation reflects the keen desire of Indian industry to partner in Sri Lanka’s economic growth and development”, said handrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The trade between the two countries before Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) came into force was about USD 500 million, which has now already crossed USD 4.3 billion and it is targeted to cross USD 7 billion by the year 2015. India’s exports to Sri Lanka amounted to USD 4.3 billion during 2011-12, which is an increase of about 25% compared to corresponding period last year. Sri Lanka’s exports to India amounted to USD 721 million during 2011-12, which is an increase of about 44% compared to corresponding period last year. In 2011, total FDI from India to Sri Lanka was USD 147 million and India was on second place behind Mauritius (USD 253 million).

The concurrent events that will be held during the “India Show” in Colombo includes a three days exhibition, India–Sri Lanka Business Seminar, one to one business meetings, high level CEOs / business delegation, food festival by the Taj Group, wine festival by Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and cultural evening by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).