“We should go beyond our traditional trading practice. We should increase investments in each other. I am not just talking about bilateral level investments but also private sector level investments here” said Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade of United Arab Emirates.
Lubna al Qasimi said this in the press briefing held in the aftermath of bilateral trade meeting held between UAE and Sri Lanka on November 23 at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo 3. The Sri Lanka team on this occasion was led by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.
“We both have strong historic ties and great trade ties. Sri Lanka is a viable market for UAE as well” Lubna al Qasimi stressed. Though Lubna al Qasimi did not mention any investments sectors specifically, she showed strong interest in Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical market during November 23 bilateral meet.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce has already started preliminary work on the first ever pharmaceutical manufacturing zone at Rathgalla, a few kilometres away from Kurunegala. The original project scope of pharamaceutical manufacturing has now been expanded to pharmaceutical equipment manufacturing as well.
UAE is the largest investor in Sri Lanka from the Gulf economies, having invested nearly $ 100 million and also UAE has been ranked as the third largest investor in Sri Lanka in 2010. Among the leading UAE investment groups in Sri Lanka are Al Futaim and Al Ghurair groups.
Minister Bathiudeen addressing Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, said: “Though the trade patterns between both countries have been irregular, I am pleased to state that there is an increase in trade, specially from 2009 onwards. The total trade which was $ 528 Mn in 2009 increased to $ 581 Mn in 2010 and in the period of January – September this year alone, the total trade increased to $ 808 Mn. 48 percent of exports from Sri Lanka to UAE consists of Tea followed by apparels which is 18 percent. Also exported are natural rubber, coconut oil, desiccated coconut, copra, cashewnuts, essential oils, fruits and vegatables, and rubber products.”
During the bilateral event, Minister Bathiudeen also extended the official invitation of “Sri Lanka Expo 2012” to UAE. “I am pleased to inform you that Sri Lanka Export Development Board under my Ministry is now in the process of organising a mega exhibition namely Sri Lanka Expo 2012 to be held from March 28th to 30th in Colombo. Today, I am most delighted to invite high level UAE business and trade delegations to this event Sri Lanka Expo 2012, the mega export show to be held after a 14 year lapse” Minister Bathiudeen said.http://www.ft.lk/2011/11/24/sri-lanka-officially-invites-uae-to-expo-2012/#more-57743