From left: Lilakshi de Mel, Senior Asst. Secretary General, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Sarath de Costa, Vice President, Daya Weththasinghe, President of the Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee, Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador for Japan in Sri Lanka, Kichiro Iwase, First Secretary Embassy of Japan, Merrick Gooneratne, Vice President, Tissa Jayaweera, Vice President and Kazuhiko Obama, Resident Representative JETRO Colombo
“Sri Lanka has great potential to attract Japanese investors who are interested in investing in Sri Lanka,” said Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador for Japan during His Excellency’s meeting with the Ceylon Chamber led Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee.
Ambassador further mentioned that ASEAN is now saturated. Although India is a big market it is not easy to do big business. Therefore, now the Japanese companies are looking at Sri Lanka as Gateway to Asia. ICT and Electronic component manufacturing are promising sectors to promote further between Sri Lanka and Japan as potential areas to establish joint ventures in Sri Lanka.
It was mentioned that Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Colombo is now studying the value chain opportunities available in Sri Lanka and once the study is completed SLJBCC could focus on areas to further promote business between the two countries.
Commenting on a recent report regarding the establishment of a Japanese Bank in Sri Lanka, Ambassador said discussions stated that discussion with Central Bank centered on what steps would be necessary to create an environment that should be conductive to setting up representative offices that would take care of the banking needs of Japanese enterprises in Sri Lanka. This is also important for promoting investment from Japan.
Daya Weththasinghe, President of the SLJBCC, introduced The Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee (SLJBCC) that was set up in 1979 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce following a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan - Sri Lanka Business Co-operation Committee (JSLBCC) set up by the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The SLJBCC is the first bi-lateral business council to be set up by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and its membership to date is 98. Since the inauguration of the SLJBCC, 18 joint meetings have been held in Sri Lanka and Japan (Sri Lanka 8 and Japan 8), the most recent in Tokyo, Japan in June, 2014.
Weththasinghe mentioned that a high powered business delegation is due to visit Sri Lanka in end October 2015 organised by the Kansai Economic Federation (KEF - KANKEIREN) and the Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee in association with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will be organizing a Business Networking Session for the visiting delegates with potential local companies. It was further discussed to look into the possibility of holding the 19th Joint Committee Meeting in Sri Lanka in early 2016.
Weththasinghe stated that SMEs in Japan has a greater potential to enter into Sri Lanka considering the ample opportunities available to export products manufactured in Sri Lanka to India and Pakistan under two Free Trade Agreements.
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