The Embassy of Sri Lanka to the United States, in collaboration with the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), hosted a vibrant evening reception on 13th September 2022 at the Embassy premises in Washington D.C., promoting Sri Lanka as a key spice exporting country.
More than 100 guests that includes over 60 members of ASTA along with the senior officials representing key governmental institutions of the USA; the White House, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce and dignitaries from the International Monetary Board, World Bank Group, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) graced the event.
Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe, addressing the gathering highlighted the importance of boosting the export of exclusive Sri Lankan spices and encouraged more business to business collaborations between the two countries, emphasizing the importance of shifting towards more value added forms of spice related exports from Sri Lanka. He also hailed the recent assistance offered by the U.S government to Sri Lanka at a time of need.
The President of the ASTA, Pontus Mattsson, in his address, thanked the Ambassador and the staff for organizing such an extraordinary reception whilst emphasizing that the members of ASTA will look to develop more business opportunities in Sri Lanka leading to progressively greater trade relations between the traders involved in the spice industry the two countries.
A descriptive video explaining the ancient origins of Ceylon spices and their cultural and economic significance, especially cinnamon and other main spices was played during the event promoting the image of the country as a much sought-after country of origin for quality spices.
A cultural dance recital showcased the talents of ‘Asanga Domask and the Serendib Dance Troupe’, performed by US students which captivated the attendees. They performed several dances in different styles that depicted Sri Lanka’s rich traditional and folk dance heritage including a Kulu Natuma, Sellam Pittaniya, Perahera and Suramba Walliya. Chandrachooda by Ms. Medhini, a fusion of Bharatanatyam choreographed by ‘The Natraj School of Indian Dance’ added variety to the event demonstrating the multi-cultural character of the country. Sri Lanka’s contemporary music also entertained throughout the event with the live rendition of Sinhala songs.
On this special occasion, the Embassy took the opportunity to boost tourism in Sri Lanka by running specially selected tourism video clips showcasing pristine beaches to green mountain-valleys and promoted diverse tourist attractions ranging from adventure and wellness to wildlife.
Additionally, the attendees were able to enjoy a sumptuous dinner buffet of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine with flavours of Ceylon spices specially prepared by a Sri Lankan chef with two live stations serving freshly made hoppers and kottu roti which interested guests the most. The tea corner offered flavoured hot tea in addition to pure Ceylon black tea. A display of varieties of spices, was also on show.
In his vote of thanks Minister (Commercial), Charitha Yattogoda thanked ASTA for joining hands with the Embassy to host the event, expressing confidence on Sri Lanka at this time of difficulty. He stressed that the current economic challenges faced by the country has not hampered Sri Lanka's exports to the USA as well as to the world that includes spice exports which recorded significant increase from the past.
A memorial souvenir pack prided by courtesy of the Spice Council of Sri Lanka along with tourism booklets & a pack of Ceylon Tea was gifted to each participant.
The ASTA represents the U.S. spice industry in the global market that shapes public perception and demand towards the industry and advances the business interests of its members. The event was financially supported by the ASTA further enhancing long-standing trade relations with exporters of Sri Lanka.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
September 20, 2022