MLI kicked off its latest initiative - CHAMPs, Children Against Landmines Program, at the offices of Campbell, Crane & Associates. MLI Chairman Anthony Lake, members of Congress, US State Department officials and community members gathered to launch this innovative project to involve the nation's schoolchildren in fighting the global landmine problem. The pilot program for CHAMPS will begin in Wyoming in September 23. Mr. Perry Baltimore, Director Marshall Legacy Institute addressing the distinguished guests at the event. CHAMPS is a two-week educational and fundraising program designed to engage schoolchildren in the global effort to remove landmines. The program promotes awareness of the landmine problem and generates funding to provide highly trained dogs to severely affected countries. As Wyoming's children learn about the impact of landmines on threatened populations, CHAMPS will encourage them to TAKE ACTION and help others by sponsoring a lifesaving dog named "Wyoming." "Wyoming" will go to Sri Lanka along with an elite team of five other mine detection dogs to help Sri Lankans free their country of mines, restore land to productive use and allow the safe return of hundreds of thousands of refugees to their homes. In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and the Government of Sri Lanka, all Wyoming students (K-12) will have the opportunity to participate in the sponsorship program. MLI Chairman Anthony Lake, MLI President Perry Baltimore, Diana Enzi (wife of Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi) and Ambassador Devinda Subasinghe of Sri Lanka will visit Cheyenne, Casper and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, along with a mine detection dog team, to deliver landmine presentations and demonstrations at area schools. "I am so thrilled that Wyoming is the first state to participate in this national campaign where children will be helping children around the world," said Mrs. Enzi at the kick-off hosted by Jeanne Campbell of Campbell Crane & Associates. Brigadier Rohan Jayasinghe, defense attaché to the Sri Lanka embassy, explained how landmines continue to threaten the safety and stability of many in Sri Lanka as it emerges from two decades of civil war. In the past 20 years, an astonishing 700,000 to 1 million landmines have been laid in the ground. Many mines have been placed in heavily populated areas and fertile farmland. This has resulted in disastrous effects upon agricultural land, villages, roads, water resources, and livestock. In Chavakachcheri alone, one of the most ravaged villages, it is estimated that it will cost $3.2 million to clear the landmines. Specially trained dogs are one of the best detectors of landmines available in the field today. Carefully selected dogs sniff the odor of explosives and alert their handlers as to the precise location of landmines for removal. Some 700 dogs are working in 23 countries around the world, but many more of these wonderful animals are needed. Through CHAMPS, MLI will help satisfy this need. Notable guests included Senator and Mrs. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Rep. Foley (R-FL), Rep. McDermott (D-WA), Rep. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Neal (D-MA), and James Lawrence from the Office of Mine Action Initiatives & Partnerships at the US Department of State. For more information on the Marshall Legacy Institute, visit the website at www.marshall-legacy.org Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 10 September 2003

Direct contacts will result in expansion of apparel exports

Five Apparel exporters from Sri Lanka visited New York, which is the central point in the US for apparel industry. The meetings were held between August 20th - 22nd 2003, with major apparel buyers and importers in the US to establish direct contacts with a view to increasing market share of Sri Lanka's exports. The programme of meetings in New York for the apparel mission was arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, as a part of the strategy to prepare for the quota free market after year 2005. The visiting Sri Lankan apparel exporters met on a one-to-one basis with a wide cross section of apparel buyers in the US. They ranged from major retaliators such as JC Penny to national brands such as, Tommy Hilfiger and Jordache and to large and medium size apparel buyers including Lollytogs, Roytex Apparel, Brylane, Jamie Brooke, Donnkenny Apparel, etc. The Sri Lankan apparel vendors learned first hand the future direction of the US apparel market, changes taking places in the supply chain management, and to establish new contacts and to renew relations with existing buyers. Sri Lankan exporters received a number of inquiries from potential buyers. Major retailers such as JC Penny and importers such as Haddad Apparel, Tommy Hilfiger, Lollytogs mentioned that they are planning to follow up their discussions by visiting Sri Lankan factories. The representative from JC Penny said that "The needlework from Sri Lanka is the finest needlework apparel buyers could get anywhere in the world. However, Sri Lanka needs to improve its price competitiveness to be far with prices quoted by other Asian and South American suppliers". A representative of Haddad Apparel which is the number one kids wear company in the US said that they are extremely happy with their business relations and that they are looking forward to grow their sourcing from Sri Lanka and thus provides increased US market share. He also pointed out the necessity to reduce the lead time required by Sri Lankan exporters and bring down the price level to that of Thailand and Indonesia. A visiting Sri Lankan Apparel Exporter expressing his satisfaction on the program said that the meetings were useful in establishing contacts with new buyers, learning what is going on in the US market and identifying market trends. He also emphasized the usefulness of making direct contacts with buyers and having one to one discussions. The Sri Lankan apparel exporters who visited New York includes; Shadow Line Apparels, Viking Fashions, Union Apparels, Kane Apparels and Hi Q Fashion Ltd. These companies also will participate in "ASAP" Show, which is scheduled to take place from 24th to 27th in Las Vegas. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 23 August 2003
The U.S. Government has awarded a $ 560,000 grant to the Government of Sri Lanka to fund a technical assistance program for providing consultancy services on the development of a 300MW coal fired power plant. This grant was awarded to Sri Lanka through the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Mr. James F. Entwistle, Chargé d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, and Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance,at the signing of a U.S. Government grant for development of a 300 MW power plant in Sri Lanka.

The agreement extending the grant was singed by Mr. James F Entwistle, Charge d' Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka on behalf of the U.S. Government and Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, at the Ministry of Finance, Colombo. Ambassador Devinda R Subasinghe said "I am pleased that the agreement for extending a technical assistance programme on the development of 300MW coal fired power plant was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the U.S. As discussed with Ms. Thelma Askey, Director TDA, I hope this is just the beginning of TDA assistance for many more projects in key sectors with potential for foreign investment in Sri Lanka. This grant and a few more in the pipeline, with undoubtedly, enhance bilateral trade and investment opportunities for US companies in Sri Lanka". The Government of Sri Lanka has identified power generation as a priority sector for foreign direct investment. The electricity generating system is in transition from a predominant hydro power generated system to a mixed hydrothermal system. Technical Assistance Programme for providing consultancy services on the development of coal fired power plant is vital to Sri Lanka's efforts to diversify its power generation system. The present total installed capacity in Sri Lanka, is 1409 MW, of which the hydro power generated capacity is 1,137 MW. A 10 per cent annual growth in power consumption is forecast. In order to meet this demand, the country needs to generate an additional 1530 MW by year 2008. Therefore, Sri Lanka looks, increasingly at non-hydro power sources i.e., thermal and other renewable energy sources to be developed under private sector initiatives. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 29 July 2003
On Wednesday, July 16, 2003, His Excellency Devinda R. Subasinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States, and Anthony Lake, Chairman of the Board of The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), jointly hosted a gathering of eminent personalities in Washington DC, to raise funds for mine detection dogs to "sniff out" landmines and save lives in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Government has requested MLI's assistance in establishing an indigenous mine detection dog program in Sri Lanka. The Ambassador noted that despite the ceasefire after 20 years of conflict, "an estimated 700,000 landmines continue to cripple and kill innocent people, instill fear, discourage resettlement, development and deny use of land in the northern and eastern portions of Sri Lanka". MLI is a Virginia-based, non-profit organization dedicated to donating trained mine detection dogs to severely contaminated countries. The Institute combines tax-deductible contributions from private donors with government funds to train local handlers to employ the dogs effectively in national mine clearance programs. Ambassador Subasinghe explained that with current landmine removal capabilities it will take 25 -30 years to free the country of mines. He made special mention of the untiring efforts of Mrs Diana Enzi, Wife of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) who had been the initiator for the Children Against the Mine Problem (CHAMPS) program. He explained that CHAMPS allows children to become involved in the global landmine epidemic by working with schools to educate children about the threat of mines and raising funds to "adopt" a mine detection dog. Ambassador and Mrs. Subasinghe are expected to visit Wyoming with the Enzi's to participate in the fund raising for this project soon. Anthony Lake, former National Security Advisor, noted that a timeline of 30 years or so is "unacceptable and unnecessary." He suggested that donors could help reduce the timeline dramatically, and that while they 'may never know the names or see the faces of those they have helped, they can know that they have made a difference in their lives." Nearly 700 dogs are working reliably and safely in 23 countries today. MLI President Perry Baltimore noted that "a highly trained, explosive- sniffing dog is an extremely valuable & versatile resource in the deminer's toolkit, and is the best detector of landmines in the field today." Brigadier Rohan Jayasinghe, Defence Attaché of the Embassy explained the efforts taken by both the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the NGOs in this endeavor to rid the affected areas of landmines. Guests included Senator and Mrs. Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Lawrence from the Office of Mine Action Initiatives & Partnerships at the US Department of State, and corporate executives from Campbell Crane & Associates, CHuBB International, DMS - Architectural Services Inc., Limited Brands, Sandler Travis & Rosenberg, Sara Lee Branded Apparel and Shell Oil Company. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 17 July 2003
A Congressional Delegation led by Congressman Jerry Weller (Republican- Illinois), and comprising Congressman Scott Garrett (Republican-New Jersey) and Mr. Allan Tenille, Legislative Director to Congressman Weller visited Sri Lanka from June 29th to July 3rd 2003. Congressman Jerry Weller who serves on the House of Ways and Means Committee is the Co-chairperson of Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus. Congressman Scott Garret serves on the House Financial and Budget Committees and is a member of the Sri Lankan Caucus. The purpose of the Congressional Delegation was to provide visiting Congressman with an opportunity to witness first hand the efforts of Sri Lanka Government peacefully resolve the ethnic conflict, economic reform programme undertaken by the government and the possibilities of expanded trade and investment with Sri Lanka. Prior to the departure of Congressional Delegation to Sri Lanka Hon. Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Economic Reform Science & Technology briefed members of the delegationand Congressional Caucus on the ongoing peace process and economic reform program undertaken by Sri Lanka at the Inaugural Meeting of Sri Lanka Caucus of 108th Congress held on June 26th 2003 at the Capitol Hill. The delegation called on H.E. the President Chandrika Kumaranatunga Bandaranaike, and had meetings with Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Hon. Professor G.L. Peiris, (Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy & Investment & Constitutional Affairs), Hon. Ravi Karunanayake (Minister of Commerce & Consumer Affairs), Hon Joseph Michael Perera (Speaker), Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse (Leader of the Opposition) during their stay in Colombo. Congressional delegation also had meetings with a wide cross section of the business community in Sri Lanka including; members of Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, American Chamber of Commerce, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. The visiting Congressman also met Sir Arthur C. Clerk at the Arthur C Clerk at the Arther C Clerk Center in Colombo. The Delegation visited a state of art apparel manufacturing factory establish in Sri Lanka by the Mast Industries. The Congressional Delegation had the opportunity to have a glimpse of Sri Lankan cultural heritage during their visit to Sigiriya, and Kandy. US Embassy in Colombo organized a press briefing presided by the Congressman and Representatives from the US Embassy (please see - Statement by Congressman Jerry Weller and Congressman Scott Garrett and their bios - Congressman Jerry Weller and Congressman Scott Garrett) The Charge d'' Affairs of the US Embassy in Colombo hosted them for a reception. The visit of the Congressional delegation to Sri Lanka was sponsored by the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 03 July 2003
World Bank increases allocations to Sri Lanka by fifty per cent Minister Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Economic Reform, Science & Technology concluded an official visit to Washington D.C. During his visit, Minister Moragoda met with a number of senior officials of the US Administration, Congressional leaders, Senior Officials of the World Bank and IMF, media personalities, and members of the academic community. U.S. - Sri Lanka Bilateral Discussions Among the senior Administration officials Minister Moragoda met were Ambassador Robert Zoellick, United States Trade Representative, Jim Moriarty, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs in the National Security Council, Ms. Christina Rocca, Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs of the Department of State. Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead, U.S. Ambassador Designate to Sri Lanka called on Minister Moragoda for discussions prior to taking up his new assignment in Sri Lanka. The Minister discussed with these US Government officials Post- Tokyo developments involving the peace process and bilateral matters. These discussions included the proposed official visit of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the U.S. to meet with President George W. Bush later this year. At his meeting with the U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Zoellick, the Minister discussed Sri Lanka’s economic reform process and Sri Lanka –US bilateral trade liberalization. Ambassador Zoellick complimented the leadership of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the Minister in implementing economic reforms and assured that his office stands ready to support this process and agreed to stay in regular contact. Inauguration of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus The Minister also participated in the inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka Congressional Caucus of the 108th Congress. This meeting was attended by the Co-Chairs, Representative Jerry Weller (Republican – Illinois) and Frank Pallone (Democrat - New Jersey). Representatives Weller and Scott Garrett (Republican –New Jersey) will visit Sri Lanka to discuss trade and business relations. Representative Weller serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee responsible for trade matters. Meetings with IMF and World Bank Officials Minister Moragoda met with Mr. Shengman Zhang, Managing Director of the World Bank and Mr. S. Sugisaki, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. At these two meetings they discussed the improving economic prospects in Sri Lanka, highlighting the importance of making effective use of the large amount of aid pledges committed by the donor community. Both Mr. Zhang and Mr. Sugisaki commended the Government for its commitment to the peace process and for implementing necessary economic reforms. The Minister indicated that a supportive institutional arrangement will be established to improve aid utilization. Mr. Zhang informed the Minister that considering the significant improvements in the country’s economic prospects, country rating and the resource needs, the allocation of resources to Sri Lanka from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) was increased by 50 per cent from the earlier planned US$200 million per year over the next two years to US$300 million per year. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States, Devinda R. Subasinghe participated in all the meetings with Minister Moragoda. Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC USA 27 June 2003