Sri Lanka markets GSP+ return at business forum in Milan (Daily FT 1.11.2017)

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On a promotional visit to enhance Sri Lanka’s exports to Italian market under EU-GSP+ concessions and the investment potentials, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe addressed Sri Lanka Business Forum organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Italy, Sri Lanka Consulate in Milan and the EDB, in association with Associazione Italiana Commercio Estero called AICE in Milan.

This forum was held at the auditorium of AICE on 17 October where it was attended by over 70 potential buyers, importers, investors and the chamber representatives in Milan. AICE in Milan, having more than 70 years of history, has been helping Italian and foreign companies to do mutual business in Italy.

Minister Senasinghe was the keynote speaker at this gathering who invited Italian businesses to enhance their trade and investment relations with Sri Lanka through GSP+, as the country has now been the champions of democracy in the region and it has been establishing the principles of good governance and rule of law under the unity government aiming to be reached as a rich country through the vision 2025. It was further mentioned that Sri Lanka is the gateway to Asia and the world, specially having the opportunity to supply for 4.5 billion markets surrounded in the Asian region by utilising the tariffs concessions available under various FTAs. The Minister also urged and encouraged the participants to engage with future business with Sri Lanka mainly through transfer of technology and the FDI flows in to the targeted areas like to manufacture of electronic and electrical parts, boat buildings, value added industries, dynamic service sector and the BOP and ITC. Sri Lanka delegation and the participants were welcomed by AICE President Dr. Claudio Rotti, while he was touching upon briefly on the bilateral relations. Ambassador Daya Pelpola delivered a speech highlighting the long standing cordial bilateral trade, economic and other relations maintained between Italy and Sri Lanka, particularly Italy as important economic partner for Sri Lanka as a G8 country, as well as the fifth biggest export market to Sri Lanka.

EDB Director General Jeevani Sriwardena and the Minister (Commercial) of the Embassy Sri Lanka in Rome Somasena Mahadilulwewa conducted two colourful and informative presentations that elaborated trade potentials under GSP plus concessions that Sri Lanka has regained in the month of May this year and the related investment opportunities that are available in Sri Lanka particularly for the Italian investors, respectively. BOC DGM Russel Fonseka also spoke on the financial services that can be extended to the Italian businesses in future.

This forum was also important as the Financial Controller of Calzedonia SPA, Andrea Marchesini conducted a detailed presentation on the positive and success story of inviting them in Sri Lanka. Calzedonia is one of the giant apparel retailers in Italy, having famous apparel brands in the market known as ‘Calzedonia’, ‘Intimissimi’, ‘Tezenis’ and ‘Folconery’, most of those were sourced from Sri Lanka.

On the same day the Minister also met the representatives of the leading importers and one of the biggest supermarket chains in Italy named Auchan, etc, and encouraged them to buy various consumer goods from Sri Lanka utilising the GSP Plus concessions. During the meeting had with the President of AICE Dr. Claudio Rotti and the board members of AICE, Minister met two leading buyers for fresh and frozen fish products and the fruits and vegetables in Milan.

In this business forum, a business networking was arranged where it was served Ceylon Tea by Akbar Tea agent in Italy, Sri Lankan Ginger biscuits, Sri Lankan traditional finger food, display of Sri Lanka trade information prepared by the EDB and playing of videos on Ceylon Tea and on Sri Lanka Tourism.

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