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Webinar on economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and South Korea

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The embassy of Sri Lanka in the Republic of Korea in close coordination with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Korea Importers Association (KOIMA), Korea Business Council and the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Colombo conducted a webinar, last week, with particular focus on business opportunities and vistas, strategies to enhance bilateral trade particularly exports of goods and services of Sri Lanka to South Korea, investment and commercial opportunities and tourism, among others.

The key speakers were the ambassador of South Korea in Colombo Amb. Jeong Woonjin, chairman & CEO of KOIMA Kwang-hee Hong and Senior International Director of KOIMA Joong-hyun Jough, Chief Economist of CCC Shiran Fernando, president of Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council Priyantha Mendis and ambassador of Sri Lanka to Seoul Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis respectively. Ms. Lilakshini de Mel, Senior Assistant Secretary General of the CCC, coordinated, orchestrated and publicized all spheres of this high-profile webinar along with the two embassies and KOIMA.

A number of noted corporates, entrepreneurs, business houses, senior bureaucrats and technocrats and academics mostly from Sri Lanka as well as from South Korea participated in this Webinar. The president of Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council made the opening welcome remarks, while Shiran Fernando of CCC, introduced the respective speakers of the webinar as the moderator.

Ambassador Jeong Woonjin stated that being in Sri Lanka for only two months, he could witness at first-hand basis the potential and vistas of the country, particularly in the context of the manner in which the general elections were conducted on 5th of August 2020 as well as efficacious containment of COVID-19. He accentuated two key factors, which were trust and confidence of the peoples of Sri Lanka and of the international community vis-à-vis Sri Lanka. He further enunciated a very positive and sanguine message of Sri Lanka, particularly to Korean corporate leaders and entrepreneurs to be engaged with Sri Lanka.

The chairman of KOIMA expounded the goods and services imported to the RoK and ways and means to enhance and aggrandize the exports of Sri Lanka to the RoK, in particular. It may further be noted that the KOIMA is the focal Institution in the entire country with regard to imports to the RoK similar to the BOI of Sri Lanka with regard to FDI and FII. The Senior Director of International Affairs of KOIMA made a comprehensive presentation which encompassed opportunities in the import sector of South Korea.

Ambassador Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis stated the courses of action Sri Lankan corporates and entrepreneurs should implement and execute in order to capture and penetrate the highly competitive Korean market, thus enhancing the exports to South Korea. He added that today South Korea is the 9th largest economy in the world and in 1960s was one of the poorest nations in the world. He added that the imports of South Korea in 2018 were in the vicinity of USD 530 billion and if Sri Lanka could capture, only 0.1%, it would amount to USD 530 million. This would be an increase of over 700% compared to the exports from Sri Lanka to the RoK in 2019. Dr. Mendis also added that 50% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the RoK comprised of apparels, coconut and rubber products and tea and accentuated the vitality and seminality to diversify the export basket.

(The embassy of Sri Lanka)

 

 



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National Trade Facilitation Committee Secretariat to be established

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The NTFC review meeting in progress

In an effort to accelerate trade facilitation commitments and bolster the business landscape in Sri Lanka, a high-level review of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) was conducted at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday (7).

The review focused on assessing the progress of trade facilitation commitments and scrutinizing the performance of the NTFC Secretariat. The private sector also voiced their views on expediting actions to ensure the completion of measures ahead of the projected timeline of 2025-2030.

In order to streamline compliance and optimize performance, several directives were issued during the meeting. Firstly, it was decided to establish the NTFC Secretariat under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance. Secondly, immediate measures to be taken to address the staffing requirements of the Secretariat and lastly, the budget allocated for the NTFC Secretariat in 2023, currently under the Department of Customs, was to be transferred to the Ministry of Finance to prioritize pending actions such as the development of the NTFC website and progress reporting system.

During the meeting, deliberations took place concerning the proposed National Single Window, a system aimed at simplifying and expediting trade processes. The participants agreed to expedite the submission of the proposal in a sequential manner to ensure its swift implementation.

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PM discusses ADB future projects in Sri Lanka with ADB DG and new Country Director

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Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama and newly appointed Country Director Takafumi Kadono held discussions with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Thursday (June 8) at the Temple Trees in Colombo.

The Prime Minister, while welcoming the new Director General thanked the outgoing DG, Chen Chen for the support extended to Sri Lanka during the height of Covid pandemic and the economic crisis. He thanked the ADB for extending short term, immediate contingency support which has helped Sri Lankan economy to recover from the unprecedented crisis within a short period of time. ADB loan funds amounting to USD 380 mn were targeted for enhancing fiscal space and efficient public financial management system as well as strengthening the SME sector with access to finance. Further USD 250 mn was obtained as budgetary support to develop Capital Market.

The Prime Minister made a special mention about ADB’s US$ 333 million emergency assistance to support import of essential items such as fertilizer, medicines and chemicals for water treatment, working capital support to SMEs, and cash transfer to most poor and vulnerable to mitigate the impact of economic crisis.

ADB Director General for South Asia Keinichi Yokohoma, praised the recovery made by Sri Lankan economy and briefed the Prime Minister about the ADB’s mid-term and long-term projects for economic progress and infrastructure development.

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ADB provides Sri Lanka access to concessional financing to facilitate sustained and inclusive recovery

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Kenichi Yokoyama, Director General of ADB's South Asia Department

Low interest -rate financing broadens country’s options to bridge urgent development financing needs

ADB support now comes in concessional and market-based financing, technical assistance, policy advice, and knowledge solutions

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the eligibility of Sri Lanka to access concessional financing. The availability of concessional assistance, offered at low interest rates, broadens Sri Lanka’s options to bridge its urgent development financing needs to restore economic stability and deliver essential services, particularly to the poor and vulnerable.

Eligibility for concessional resources among the developing member countries of ADB is based on gross national income per capita and creditworthiness. ADB’s decision was considered based on a request from the Government of Sri Lanka in view of the severe and unprecedented economic crisis that has reversed hard-won development gains.

“ADB is committed to further enhancing its support for the people of Sri Lanka as the country responds to this deep crisis that has severely undermined their livelihoods and well-being,” said ADB Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama. “The availability of concessional assistance will help Sri Lanka to lay the foundation for economic recovery and sustained, inclusive growth.”

Sri Lanka is now eligible for ADB support including concessional and market-based financing, technical assistance, policy advice, and knowledge solutions that together comprise a comprehensive suite of options to address the crisis. Access to concessional financing will also ease debt servicing pressures through more favorable lending terms.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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