Economic diplomacy is at the forefront of Sri Lanka's foreign relations at this time, and the country's envoys across the world have been given explicit instructions to accord the highest priority to developing trade, investment and tourism, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in Colombo recently.
He was speaking as Chief Guest at the Diplomats' Evening, organized by the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE), for the third consecutive year, at Colombo Hilton.
A large number of Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Sri Lanka were present on the occasion.
The Minister enumerated, among Sri Lanka's main strengths from the perspective of trade and investment, our geographical location, bilateral trade agreements with neighbouring countries, the unique calibre of our human resources, strong constitutional protection for investment and the mechanism of the Board of Investment.
"The principal advantage for investors, however, is the climate of total peace and stability now prevailing in the country, an essential conditions for enhanced economic activity," Minister Peiris said. He referred to the major proposals in the Budget adopted by Parliament last month, with regard to ensuring simplicity and certainty of the tax structure, the increased linkage between training and employment opportunity, incentives for valueaddition into exports, and the expansion of South - South trade, which had been specifically referred to and commended at the Blue Economy Summit held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this week.
COYLE Chairman Wasantha de Silva, Chairman - Elect Sanjay Dayaratne and Nayana Dehigama referred to the achievements of COYLE whose 117 members employ a total of 400,000 persons and contribute more than Rs. 6 billion to the country's economy.