Kochi Feb 5: The Indo-Ceylon Economic (ICE 4) Dialogue, organized on the sidelines of the ongoing Kerala Business-to-Business Meet 2016, has thrown open new investment opportunities for investors from Sri Lanka and India.
A visiting 32-member delegation from Sri Lanka participated in a panel discussion with members from the business community from across India at the CIAL Trade Fair & Exhibition Centre on Thursday.
Addressing the business fraternity at the meeting, Shri P H Kurian, Principal Secretary, Industries & IT, said investors from both the countries should take advantage of the cultural similarities between the nations to boost their business alliance.
Ayurvedic tourism and food sector are two key industries where Sri Lanka and Kerala have huge potential for future business collaborations, he said, adding that “as for the state government, we are here to facilitate trade between the two countries and help to grow your business alliances.”
Opening up new business opportunities before investors, Shri P M Francis said the Kerala government has mooted the idea of developing private industrial estates with the participation of foreign investors.
The government is also planning to create a free economic zone for foreign players, especially from Sri Lanka, Shri Francis said. He noted that the rubber wood industry, food industry, marine products, spices, coconut products, light engineering and electronics are the key sectors where the government is seeking investment from foreign countries.
Addressing investors, Shri Sarath Kahapalarachchi, President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), said India and Sri Lanka have to invest more in high value-added products.
“As the export baskets of both Sri Lanka and India are almost similar, we should take steps to diversify it for the benefit of exports in both the countries,” he said. He urged Indian authorities to initiate steps to remove trade and investment barriers for smooth business transactions among companies in both the countries.
India is the third largest export destination for Sri Lanka and also 80% of the Indian exports pass through Colombo port. The food industry in Sri Lanka has to take advantage of this opportunity to build their business, Shri Kahapalarachchi said.
Shri Deepak Aswani, Co-Chair, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Kerala, delivered the concluding remarks. Shri V Rajagopal, Chief Executive Officer, Kerala Bureau of Industrial Promotion (K-BIP) delivered the welcome address and Shri Savio Mathew, head, FICCI Kerala, proposed the vote of thanks.
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