Sri Lanka's premier international trade fair "Sri Lanka Expo 2012" with the attendance of over 1,300 foreign investors and buyers from across the globe, held in Colombo came to a conclusion March 31.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the four-day event organized by the Export Development Board (EDB) on Wednesday at the BMICH.
The international fair held in 15 years to promote Sri Lanka's exports drew 1,350 visitors from 55 countries and allowed the 300 plus Sri Lankan exporters to showcase their merchandise to an international audience.
President Rajapaksa at the opening ceremony said the large foreign investor presence at the event was both a strong and valuable vote of confidence in Sri Lanka, as well as an expression of trust in the new opportunities for export trade.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen addressing the gathering has pointed out that despite, "the World Trade Organization forecasting, only 5.8 percent world export growth for 2011, Sri Lanka's export sector showed strong resilience, by registering a highly commendable growth rate of 22.37 percent, in comparison to 2010."
A large group of Indian businessmen from several Indian trade organizations in attendance at the Expo 2012 has met with the Minister and reiterated the commitment of Indian Industry towards Sri Lanka as a priority destination for Indian investment.
The Indian businessmen have expressed their intentions to enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries to a new level with the trade reaching a peak of almost US$ 5 billion in 2011.
Sri Lanka is a priority destination for Indian companies and many leading companies have already set up joint ventures (JVs) in Sri Lanka in various fields, Udayan Ganguly, the head of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation to Expo 2012 has said.
Business delegates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who met the Trade and Commerce Minister at the event have said that Expo 2012 is a viable platform for the UAE to identify the export product portfolio of Sri Lanka and they were surprised to by Sri Lanka's vast export portfolio.
Delegations from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and UK numbering over 400 attended the Expo 2012.
Sri Lanka has bilateral investment protection agreements with 27 countries and double taxation avoidance agreements with 38 countries and no restrictions on repatriation of earnings, fees, capital, and on forex transactions relating to current account payments.