US AND SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENTS TO STAGE SECOND PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE IN COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

September 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm

“Make Sri Lanka Your Next Business Stop.” – US Department of Commerce

A second annual conference to attract U.S. investor to Sri Lanka will be held in Colombo in Oct. 12-14, 2010, giving business executives a chance to meet with government officials to discuss the possibilities of expanding U.S. businesses in Sri Lanka.

The conference is organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington, D.C. and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Trade Ministry.

“Our first conference last year gave people a good look at Sri Lanka, and the potential for businesses there,” said Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States. “Now some of those businesses are planning to begin operations in Sri Lanka. We want to make sure that business people know the advantages of investing here.”

His Excellency Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during a visit to the United Nations last week, met with U.S. investors during a business development luncheon. The president met with each of the 150 luncheon guests, and External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris, described the advantages that U.S. companies enjoy by investing in Sri Lanka.

Those benefits include Sri Lanka’s free trade agreements with India and Pakistan that gives U.S. businesses duty-free access to those large markets, as well as relaxed foreign investment regulations to help renew its economy, which grew at nearly eight percent during the first half of 2010.

The conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo. The hotel is offering special rates to conference attendees. Last year’s event featured more than 40 American businesses, as well as those already operating in India.

As the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said, “This conference will provide you with an excellent opportunity to discuss specific investment opportunities with senior officials of the Sri Lankan government and to meet with many prospective investment partners on a one-to-one basis.

“You will also have an opportunity to visit Jaffna, the capital of northern Sri Lanka, on October 12th, to gather first-hand information on the area and its business potential.

After nearly three decades of conflict, both Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, in addition to other regions, are now open to private sector investment. The ambitious development initiatives envisaged for these regions by the Sri Lankan government will soon pave the way for substantial trade and investment opportunities for U.S. entrepreneurs.

We believe the private sector can play a major role in rebuilding these regions and in helping the country achieve better economic conditions and lasting peace for all Sri Lankans.

Interested parties are asked to complete the attached application and to fax it either to Michael Feldman on 202-395-2961 at the Office of the USTR or to Nimal Karunatilake on 202-232-7181 at the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington D.C., within the next week, or Oct. 5, 2010.

You may contact Mr Michael Feldman – Director / Office of the USTR (202-395-9658 – Email: michael_feldman@ustr.eop.gov) or Mr Nimal Karunatilake – Minister (Commercial) /Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington DC (202- 483-4029 – Email: commercial@slembassyusa.org) for any further details.

Following the conference, the United States and Sri Lanka will hold talks over the U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Following the talks, U.S. officials will brief the Sri Lankan private sector on how to get maximum benefit from trade with the U.S.