National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka President Asoka Hettigoda presenting a token of appreciation to Bas Van Noordenne, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Netherlands in Sri Lanka. Picture by-Nissanka Wijeratne
In 201l, bi-lateral trade between Sri Lanka and Netherlands amounted to $ 280 million, of which $ 200 million was for exports from Sri Lanka and $ 80 million was for imports from the Netherlands. Imports form Netherlands are from the categories such as food and beverages, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and chemicals while Sri Lankan exports to Netherlands were mostly tea, rubber finished products, fish, said Bas Van Noordenne, Deputy Head of Mission in Embassy of Netherlands in Sri Lanka.
Tourism is also rapidly on the rise; In 2011 some 25,000 Dutch tourists visited Sri Lanka and the number is increasing rapidly by about 20 % per year.
According to Noordenne, well-known Dutch company is to embark on two hospital projects in Sri Lanka. However, some Dutch companies are still hesitant to have direct trade contacts with Sri Lanka as a result of the 30 year war that existed.
Sri Lanka needs to improve its image overseas to attract more foreign investors.
So much need to be done to overcome the setbacks of the three decade old war. Infrastructure need further investments, agriculture needs modernization and education system needs expansion and policy environment needs more stability, predictability and less bureaucracy, Noordenne said.