A delegation from the Osnabruck University of Applied Sciences visited the Board of Investment (BOI) to study Sri Lanka’s investment climate and opportunities for investment in the country.
The delegation was led by Prof. Dr. Oliver Tillman, Lecturer in Taxes and Private Law, at Hochschule Osnabruck University of Applied Sciences, who visited the BOI with a team of 16 students from a variety of disciplines.
The university team was briefed by BOI Director Media and Publicity Dilip S. Samarasinghe, assisted by other BOI officers.
Osnabruck University of Applied Sciences is a university in Lower Saxony, Germany, located in the city of Osnabruck. It was opened in 1971 and has a student body of 13,552 and an academic staff of 300.
The university team was visiting Sri Lanka on a week-long study tour and prior to their briefing at the BOI, visited the German BOI enterprise, KramskiLanka (Pvt.) Ltd at the BOI’s Katunayake Export Processing Zone. This enterprise is engaged in the manufacture of steel and high-precision moulds. The university delegation’s visit to Sri Lanka and to the BOI is a reflection of the growing interest on the part of visitors from the European Union (EU) to the BOI since the restoration of the GSP Plus facility to Sri Lanka. GSP Plus will emerge as a major incentive to investors since it offers duty-free access to Sri Lanka-made products to enter the EU market with a 100 percent duty waiver. Germany is Sri Lanka’s second largest investor from the EU and many of the German companies operating in Sri Lanka are global leaders in their field of specialization and investment.
German companies had invested an estimated US $ 98 million from 2005 to 2016. Their investments represent projects in steel and high-precision moulds, windsurfing sails, chemicals, foundations garments, knitwear, tools, garments electronic items, rubber-based products, coir products, toys, gems and jewellery and tourism.
Sri Lanka is very keen to attract German investments and targeting areas such as the IT and IT-enabled services, research and development, textile and apparel, higher education skills development, agriculture and food processing, tourism, infrastructure and automotive components. One potential attraction for German enterprises is the growing market access that Sri Lanka enjoys through free trade agreements (FTAs). These include the Indo-Lanka FTA. The Pakistan-Sri Lanka FTA provides access to the Pakistani market of more than 160 million consumers and the future FTA with China will open up China’s market of 1.4 billion consumers to potential investors in the future. In addition, Sri Lanka enjoys the GSP Plus facility, which opens up the EU’s market of 510 million consumers.
German companies may find Sri Lanka an attractive investment destination due to the much lower costs when compared to those in Germany. Also German companies, which are already investing in Asian, may decide to invest in Sri Lanka to strengthen their presence in the Asian region. Finally, the availability of some raw materials in Sri Lanka could also be a deciding factor in influencing German companies to opt for future investment.
Prof. Dr. Tillman, commenting on what he had experienced during this stay in the island, stated, “I think Sri Lanka is a very promising country and surely will have a bright economic future.” Germany is the second largest European investor in Sri Lanka. The cumulative German investments in the country between the period 2005 and 2016 stood at US $ 98.24 million.