Record number of Sri Lankan SMEs get potential opportunity to
expand Commonwealth trade

A record number of Sri Lankan small and medium scale business delegates participated at the Commonwealth Business Forum that was held from 16-18 April in London held alongside CHOGM 2018.

Organized by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, the Business Forum was held in three iconic venues namely Guildhall, Mansion House and Queen Elizabeth II, Westminster.

The Department of Commerce with the Export Development Board, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sri Lanka High Commission in London ensured the participation of more than 40 SMEs representing IT/BPO, Electronics, Apparel, handicraft, coconut, tourism ,Gem and Jewellery ,Maritime and Boat Building medical logistics and consultancy sectors which have been given a focus by the New Export Strategy.

Sri Lanka’s participation enabled active engagement at numerous Trade Forums, sharing ideas on revitalization of the Commonwealth in reaping its Trade and Economic advantage.

The three day sessions explored how commonwealth can be a platform to increase inclusive Trade, support SME business, deliver new jobs, and give young people access to technology and skills. Sri Lankan delegates contributed actively at various roundtables that brought together Public Private and civil society leaders to find new and innovative solution to shared challenges. This enabled a fruitful diologue on a range of topics on how best to increase flows of infrastructure investment across commonwealth, How to mitigate against cyber security risk, how technology can address issues of financial inclusion ,the value of trust in businesses ,SME Development, Maritime Fashion and Technology etc.

The Commonwealth Heads of States adopted the Trade Connectivity Agenda to serve its 2.4 billion people of which 60% of are less than 30 years of age. Day one of the forum focused on Rapidly changing dynamics of global trade and technology. On Day 2 all four forums came together at Queen Elizabeth II centre to look at global issues from shared perspective and also discussed on finical services and infrastructure development On the final day the forum focused on Sustainable development goals and the continued need to improve the sustainable business environment.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen led the Sri Lankan delegation and was a panellist at the SME Trade Forum. "SMEs have the potential to make a significant contribution, but its interests are overlooked at times. Therefore, Commonwealth can be useful in addressing these challenges faced by SMEs by building the required connectivity among the members. More interactions among the business community, sharing of best practices and information will certainly assist to facilitate trade and overcome other non-tariff barriers" he said.

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