Malaysian manufacturers should use Sri Lanka as a springboard to penetrate markets in South Asia, said the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (NCCIM) Secretary General, Datuk Syed Hussien Al-Habshee.
He said this after receiving a trade delegation from Sri Lanka in Kuala Lumpur, headed by its High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ibrahim Ansar and the Sri Lanka Malaysia Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (SLMBC) President Nilrukshi De Silva.
The delegation comprised representatives of 15 companies involved in diverse sectors such as trading, property, construction, shipping and jewellery.
Ibrahim said bilateral trade would increase with more activities between the business communities of the two countries.
Apart from traditional Ceylon tea trade, Ibrahim said rubber products, edible food, jewellery, software and apparel are among the segments that could pick up in Sri Lanka's export to Malaysia.
"Sri Lankan companies are very good in garment manufacturing, supplying to big brands like the Marks & Spencer, Casual Club and Victoria Secret, and we hope to see more garment export from Sri Lanka to Malaysia in coming years.
"Tourism should continuously improve as Sri Lanka actively participates in the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) trade fair," he said, adding at present some 22,000 Malaysians visit Sri Lanka each year.
On import, Ibrahim said palm oil, petroleum, cement and electrical and electronics products from Malaysia were still attracting interest.
Meanwhile, Nilrukshi said the reconstruction of Sri Lanka, which was economically affected by the three decades of civil war that ended in 2009, offered huge opportunities for Malaysian investors.
"Business environment in Sri Lanka is now very good.
"Current initiatives and efforts in the upcoming year including establishing more business match-making events, investor facilitation and trade relationships development will see the trade figures (Sri Lanka-Malaysia) will go up and enjoy a steady growth," she said.