The Czech Republic is eager to expand economic ties with Sri Lanka and sees the Commonwealth Business Forum(CBF) scheduled to be held next week in connection with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM ) in Colombo as a great opportunity for strengthening bilateral business relations.
In a discussion with External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Kohout, has said that the CBF is a particularly appropriate forum to focus international attention on the Sri Lanka's trade, investment and tourism potential and his country would make a representation at the forum.
Minister Kohout, accompanied by a high level business delegation from the Czech Republic, consisting of fifteen business leaders were in Sri Lanka to participate in the Sri Lanka-Czech Business Forum.
The business forum and a B2B session at the National Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday was organized by the Sri Lanka's National Chamber of Commerce in association with the Embassy of Czech Republic in New Delhi and Czech Chamber of Commerce.
Czech Foreign Minister's visit to Sri Lanka was result of discussions held with Minister Peiris on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September this year.
The two Ministers, while noting investments in Sri Lanka by Czech companies in the fields of computer software, data entry operations, BPO and the hotel sector, discussed avenues for stimulating further investment in Sri Lanka.
Interest of Czech companies in investment in infrastructure development projects, waste water management for Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy, and construction of bridges were paid special attention during the discussions.
Sri Lanka noted that bilateral trade relations with the Czech Republic, as well as tourist arrivals form that country, are continuing to grow.
Minister Peiris appreciated the recent visit by a delegation of deans and professors from several Czech universities to Sri Lanka to discuss collaboration between Czech and Sri Lankan universities. Regular academic exchanges in the field of agriculture were identified as a priority.
Foreign Minister Jan Kohout told Prof. Peiris that several Czech companies have submitted specific proposals to invest in Sri Lanka.
During the discussion, the two ministers also discussed defence and cultural cooperation and identified modalities for progress.
Minister Peiris comprehensively apprised his Czech counterpart of Sri Lanka's present situation with regard to economic development and reconciliation, and sought the understanding of the Czech Republic.
Minister Kohout has revealed his government's plans to open a resident mission in Colombo soon to accommodate the growing political and economic ties between the two countries.
The Czech Minister of Culture Jiri Balvin and Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic Tomas Tesar accompanied the Foreign Minister Kohout on his official visit to Colombo.