A bilateral Joint Task Force (JTF) /committee for economic promotion announced by India in Colombo on 03 August have been further expanded -within a mere 24 hours of its initial announcement. India also announced that a special delegation will be arriving in town by 14 August with regard to the pharma hub, one among the two new export zones to be set up in Sri Lanka by India.
“We commend the prompt action taken by the Indian side to fast track trade boost. We also thank India for its support to revive our textile and handloom sector” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Minister Rishad Was responding to the latest developments unveiled by Anand Sharma, the visiting Indian Minister on 04 August in Colombo.
Earlier, Indian Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles Ananda Sharma who was in Sri Lanka to inaugurate 'India Show' on Friday announced in Colombo that a bilateral Joint Task Force (JTF) will be set up by the two Governments to expand economic cooperation. The JTF will give recommendations to the two Governments within a stipulated period of 90 days.
India also agreed to establish a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Hub in Sri Lanka with the participation of Indian pharma firms as well as a special Manufacturing Export Zone for automotive components and engineering goods. The JTF is mandated on both zones. No investment values are finalised yet on the two manufacturing hubs specially given the nature of Manufacturing Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) near Trincomalee which has vocational training as well, but Minister Sharma said the investment envisaged is fairly big.
“Another delegation on the proposed pharmaceutical hub will be coming to Sri Lanka from coming 14-16 August, in just ten days. This proposal was only made yesterday and we have now taken the decisions. My thinking and approach has been that I do not believe in only making statements but follow them through with prompt actions. These steps that we have taken will not only help us towards $ 10 Bn target and double our trade by 2015, but it should be more than that. Because the engagement in trade and investment are well below the potential” Minister Sharma added.
Minister Bathiudeen, under the guidance of Basil Rajapaksa, the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, had already set up a new Handloom Taskforce to revive the looms and textile sector. Lankan handlooms, in addition to the domestic market, are absorbed by Italy, Maldives, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Thailand, Netherlands and Norway.