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Finance Minister highlights potential for increased bilateral trade with US

(UDHAYAM, WASHINGTON) – Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake highlighted the prospects for increasing bilateral trade with the United States and U.S. investments in Sri Lanka yesterday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC.

The Sri Lankan Minister, who is in Washington leading the Sri Lankan delegation to the International Monetary Fund -World Bank Spring Meetings, spoke at a breakfast roundtable meeting hosted by the Chamber.

Alluding to many investment opportunities in areas such as infrastructure development, agro processing, health care, export oriented manufacturing and the tourism sector, Minister Karunanayake outlined the business-friendly policies adopted by the Government of Sri Lanka to position the country as the gateway to Asia.

He discussed the benefits that U.S. companies in Sri Lanka could avail of under the existing and potential Free Trade Agreements with countries in the region, which can provide a larger market in the region beyond Sri Lanka.

Minister Karunanayake presented an overview of the progress in macroeconomic fundamentals of the country, which are integral cornerstones of a favorable investment climate and urged U.S. companies to look at Sri Lanka not only as an investment destination but also as a country with a high quality of life with excellent amenities for rest and recreation.

He pointed out that the government is putting in place mechanisms to support entrepreneurship, technology adoption, trade diversification and environmentally friendly industries and urged U.S. businesses to forge partnerships with the Sri Lankan private sector paving the way to strengthen business links over the next decade.

In his concluding remarks, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washington, Prasad Kariyawasam reiterated that with its market-friendly economic policies, geo-strategic location and high quality physical environment, Sri Lanka has become a business-friendly, eminently livable and welcoming destination in the region.

The roundtable discussion was attended among others, by senior officials of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce South Asia Team, senior representatives from Coca Cola, Exxon Mobil, Ventech Engineering LLCs, McLarty Associates, Bower Group Asia, USIBC, CIPE, MasterCard, FedEx, Trimble Navigation Ltd.

The United States continues to be Sri Lanka’s largest export market. Bilateral trade turnover currently stands at approximately USD 3.3 billion and the U.S. accounts for 28% of Sri Lanka’s total exports in 2016.

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