As its private sector investments in Sri Lanka topped $ 1.5 billion, the country's biggest FDI partner, Malaysia called for stronger business to business and investment cooperation on Wednesday (March 26) in Colombo.
"Sri Lanka has shown strong economic progress. We like to see closer cooperation at business to business and investment levels. We want a strong Sri Lankan trade delegation to Malaysia with across the board representation of all the important investment sectors," said Malaysia's Selangor based Barrister-At-Law Kulasegaran Sabaratnam, President of the Federation of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisation (FOMSO) on March 26 in Colombo.
FOMSO President Sabaratnam, who is on a six day visit to Colombo with 28 member Malaysian business team, expressed these views making a courtesy call on Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka at EDB on March 26. The 28 member business team represents five Malaysian firms.
According to a report by Daily News, despite having only 22 investment projects in Sri Lanka (under both Sections of BoI -S.16 & S.17), Malaysia is the topmost FDI investor country in Sri Lanka with $ 1.5 billion cumulative investments to-date, surpassing all other global FDI partners. Top two Malaysian investors in Sri Lanka are Axiata Group Berhad (through t Dialog Axiata in Sri Lanka) and the Merbok Group (through Merbok MDF Lanka). Dialog Axiata's investment in Sri Lanka alone has surpassed $ 1 billion mark.
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, in 2013, bilateral trade between both countries stood at $ 577.66 million of which exports from Sri Lanka were $44.92 million while imports levelled at $532.74 mn. Natural Rubber is the main export item to Malaysia which contributes 31% from the total exports followed by apparels (30%) and tea (9%). Other major export items to Malaysia are treated/used pneumatic tyres, and molluscs. Top imports from Malaysia are petroleum oils, cement, palm oil, miscellaneous chemical products, wood, charcoal and plastics, among others.