Malaysian investors continue to explore opportunities in Sri Lanka’s real state, manufacturing and tourism sectors while the Malaysian Government targets US $ 1 billion bi-lateral trade with Sri Lanka in the years ahead, said High Commissioner of Malaysia in Sri Lanka Azmi Zainudeen.
“I see there is a lot of scope to improve trade between the two countries and Malaysia will lead a special marketing mission to Sri Lanka from May 27-30, 2012 to determine bilateral trade and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“Sri Lanka can serve as a hub for Malaysian businesses intending to penetrate the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Malaysian Government is also expected to promote and develop Islamic banking in Sri Lanka, including insurance and Halal industries and I believe that similarities in the cultures of the two countries will give us ready access to Sri Lankan markets,” Zainudeen said at a seminar on Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia, organized by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL).
In 2011, total trade between Malaysia showed a notable improvement and total trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia stood at $ 814.05 million, while Malaysia’s exports to Sri Lanka were $ 644 million which is 38 percent growth over the previous year. Malaysian imports from Sri Lanka posted $ 170 million during the same year.
Malaysia’s exports are mainly Asian driven and its inter-regional trade accounts to 71.3 percent of its total trade. Malaysian authorities intend to further increase its regional trade share in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as south Asian region in the coming years.
Major exports to Malaysia from Sri Lanka are garments, tea, gems and jewellery, natural rubber and rubber products, tyres, food preparations, coconut and coconut products, spices and essential oils, precious stones, machinery equipment, ceramic products, sea food, ornamental fish, cut flowers and foliage , fruits and vegetables, engineering, electronic products, plastic, leather products, footwear, wooden furniture, hand-loom and textiles, handicrafts and gift items, stationery, toys, chemical products, IT and IT enabled services and others.
Main imports to Sri Lanka are textiles and clothing, petroleum, machinery and equipment, building materials, motor vehicles, transport equipments, electrical equipment, chemicals, food and beverages, wheat, sugar, milk and milk products, fertilizer, paper and paper boards.