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U.S. Commerce Dept. links with Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce to promote bilateral trade, investment

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Two officials of the U.S. Department of Commerce’ Office of the General Counsel’s Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP), Zmarak Khan, Senior Counsel (standing 4th from left) and Attorney Advisor Jocelyn Steiner (seated 2nd from right) Met with directors of the Sri Lanka-America Chamber of Commerce, led by its President Sanje Sedera (standing 2nd from left) at its national headquarters in Las Vegas

Move to attract Colombo Port City to American and foreign entrepreneurs

Two Washington-based senior officials of the South & Central Asia Division of the Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce recently met with the Board of Directors of the Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce (SLACCOM) in its national headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada to ascertain the feasibility of establishing a better flexibility for trade, commerce and investment between the two countries.

Led by SLACCOM president Sanje Sedera and his deputy Aruna Abayakoon with the participation of Charitha Yattogoda, Commercial Minister of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington and Anil Sirimanna, Minister Counselor of the Los Angeles-based SL Consulate General office, the four-hour discourse highlighted the vitality of twinning Colombo Port City with the global convention capital – the City of Las Vegas – promoting American and visiting foreign convention entrepreneurs to establish trade, commerce and investment with Sri Lanka using a twinning of the cities, attracting Colombo Port City to American and foreign entrepreneurs while engaged in improving the legal environment for such engagements, and probing avenues for small and medium Sri Lankan businesspersons to have an enhanced American market.

It was noted at this discourse between American and Chamber officials that the U.S. is Sri Lanka’s largest export market which accounts US$3 billion (in 2018) out of her total $11.7 billion exports and yet it was noted that there was a decrease of 6.4 percent from the 2017 export volume, and the importance of exploring avenues to enhance the volume of exports while engaged in improving legal environment to foster greater economic opportunity for both Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and US companies.

The Commercial Law Development Programme officials of the US Department of Commerce expressed their desire and interest in working with the SLACCOM to improve conducive legal environment for doing business between the United States and Sri Lanka, highlighting that such efforts undoubtedly foster greater political stability in Sri Lanka and economic opportunity for both nations.

The CLDP is tasked to improve the legal environment for business worldwide, as mentioned by Zmarak Khan, senior counsel for South and Central Asia of the Program in the US Commerce Department, and aimed at achieving US foreign policy goals in developing and post-conflict countries such as Sri Lanka through commercial legal reforms. Ms. Jocelyn A. Steiner, Attorney Advisor (international) said the Commercial Law Development Program unique government-to-government technical assistance draws upon highly experienced regulators, policymakers and business leaders to make meaningful and lasting changes to legal and judicial environment of the host country.

Three directors of the SLACCOM, deputy president Aruna Abayakoon, Douglas Perera and Lalindra Wickremaratne, apprised the two visiting Commerce Department officials their tour and discussions at the Colombo Port City last December, the engagement their Chamber envisages to promote trade, commerce and investment between the two countries, and their discussions with officials of Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment in Colombo including its head Raja Edirisuriya.

Khan pledged that he will have a dialogue with the Economic-Commercial Counselor of the American Embassy in Sri Lanka what steps and measures need to be taken to facilitate American entrepreneurs to engage in the Colombo Port City. Twinning both the City of Las Vegas and Colombo Port City, as explained by Chamber president Sanje Sedera, Khan said was a progressive thought as throughout the year Las Vegas has become a destination for trade shows and conventions bringing investors and entrepreneurs from worldwide.

The Chamber’s task is to establish rapport with these visiting economic giants, as engaged already, to ascertain what kind of investments possible in Sri Lanka while using the already established contacts in Sri Lanka to help and promote medium and small exporters to find markets in the United States, the Chamber directors informed the two Commerce Department officials. The CLDP comes in to make meaningful and lasting changes to legal and judicial environment in Sri Lanka with official dialogue with the government, it was noted at the discourse. The Chamber is exploring what incentives need to attract medium and large exporters to hold trade shows and conventions in Las Vegas which could expose them to international visiting entrepreneurs.



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Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions 

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Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.

The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.

The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.

Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.

The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.

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CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.

• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.

• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.

• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.

• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.

• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.

• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.

• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.

The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.

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CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT 

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CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.

 CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.

 Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”

In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.

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