My first impressions of Sri Lanka are very positive. We are keen on new joint ventures in the resurgent Sri Lankan economy. We also want to evaluate current investments by French firms in Sri Lanka, said Pierre Lignot, Director of Ubifrance of India who accompanied Jean-Louis Poli, Economic and Commerce Counsellor of Embassy of France in Colombo.
Ubifrance is the French government’s agency for international business development and export promotion and its profile is currently being expanded to cross-border investments as well.
Visiting Director Pierre Lignot revealed this to Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka during the courtesy call he made on Minister Bathiudeen on 17 July at the Minister’s office bureau in Colombo.
“Chief amongst the JVs we are looking for here are rubber and rubber based product sector as well as dairy. We like Sri Lanka’s export rubber varieties and products. We believe we can enter in this sector for value addition. We are also keen to bring in France’ well known livestock and dairy technologies to Sri Lanka thereby enhancing domestic capacities. I believe that the high levels of French dairy technologies can help upgrade Sri Lankan dairy sector. We are also capable on JVs in hotel equipment, renewable energy and biomass, and packaging, especially cold storage” Lignot revealed.
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, France is one of the most important trading partners for Sri Lanka, accounting for US$ 408.2 Million trade in 2011.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has been fluctuating in both directions and the trade balance has been in favour of Sri Lanka during last six years except 2005, 2008 and 2011.
Apparels and clothing accessories have been the main export items from Sri Lanka to France, accounting for 45% of total exports in 2011follwed by Fish fillets (6.2%), pneumatic tyres(5.14%), articles of vulcanized rubber (4.8%), bicycles (4.3%), coconut(3.6%), and tea(3.4%) etc. Among the top French firms operating in Sri Lanka are Alsthom (a world leader in energy and transport), Alcatel-Lucent (a leader in mobile, fixed, IP and optics technologies, also the network provider for Etisalat Sri Lanka), Lafarge (cement and concrete), Schneider Electric (a global energy management specialist firm), and Noyon-Dentelle (Noyon Lanka).