Mr. Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka held discussions with a delegation of senior diplomats from Slovenia visiting Sri Lanka.
The delegation was led by Mr. Marjan Cencen Ambassador of Slovenia to Sri Lanka based in New Delhi and Mrs. Mateja Vodeb Ghosh, Minister Plenipotentiary. The ambassador had visited Sri Lanka to present his credentials to H E the President of Sri Lanka and also to explore greater opportunity for economic co-operation. The delegation also had several meetings organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Cencen expressed willingness to build up economic relations between Slovenia and Sri Lanka adding that Slovenia was interested in a two way co-operation where both countries would mutually benefit. Slovenia was interested in developing investment in specific projects. Though a small country Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the World’s largest trading block and also part of the Euro currency Zone. In addition as a member of the Schengen Zone, Slovenia offers travel advantages.
The BOI Chairman was assisted by Ms. Nilupul De Silva (Director – Promotion) and Mr. Dilip S Samarasinghe (Director – Media & Publicity). The visit to the BOI was co-ordinated by Ms. Hasanthi Dissanayake, Director (Travel Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Currently there is about $ 8 million worth of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Slovenia, but many more advantages can be accrued since Slovenia is a gateway to Germany and enjoys strong relations with certain key Asian countries such as Korea. The Ambassador stated that Korean Hyundai Cars are in fact assembled in Slovenia and exported to European Union countries.
The BOI Chairman Mr. Susantha Ratnayake expressed some of the ideas and goals of the Government of Sri Lanka. He briefed the Slovenian delegation of the President’s strategic goal to develop the assimilation of smart technology in Sri Lanka which would lead to an increase in the country’s level of digitalization.
He also spoke of the Government’s plans to develop sources of renewable energy and make it the Country’s leading energy source by 2030.
Sri Lanka also stood to gain from growing Chinese investments, in the light of recent global tensions in the area of trade. Sri Lanka’s advantage as stated by the Chairman was that the country enjoyed friendly relations with all countries and also enjoyed market access through Free Trade Agreements with India, Pakistan and Singapore.
In the course of the discussion a number of key sectors were identified and discussed as areas of possible co-operation in the future. These included pharmaceutical, where Slovenia does have a strong industry and which Sri Lanka is eager to develop as part of an import substitution policy. Slovenia is also strong in the area of renewable energy and could share some of its experience with Sri Lanka. Furthermore the European country has set up a center for artificial intelligence at its capital, Ljubljana. Other areas of co-operation discussed include the manufacture of car parts and co-operation in the field of tourism. Both sides agreed to promote greater economic ties in the future.
Dilip S Samarasinghe
Director (Media & Publicity)