A visiting Israeli business delegation has expressed interest in harnessing Sri Lanka’s free trade agreements (FTAs) to carry out trade with the countries in the Asian region, a statement issued by the Board of Investment (BoI) said.
Sri Lanka has two free trade agreements with India and Pakistan. It is expected that the country would soon enter into a new free trade agreement with China.
“Since Sri Lanka has recently introduced entrepot trade, which will allow the storage of goods at the Hambantota port, Israeli companies were studying the possibility of using that facility for re-export to other markets,” the BoI said.
Currently, a few Israel companies have invested in Sri Lanka under the BoI. These include Diamond Cutters Ltd, which has been operating for more than a decade in the island.
Diamond Cutters Ltd is engaged in cutting and polishing diamonds in Sri Lanka. The gems are then re-exported to Israel. Some of the diamonds are used by the high-end wristwatch industry.
The company employs 900 workers and has contributed to making Sri Lanka a centre for the diamond industry.
Another company exports tuna fish from Sri Lanka to Israel and Europe. The company also promotes tourism to Sri Lanka from Israel and Russia.
Another area which the delegation had expressed interest in was breeding of livestock, particularly poultry farming.
The delegation was hosted by BoI Chairman Dr. Lakshaman Jayaweera. The Israeli delegation was led by Anat Bernstein – Reich, Vice President of the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce and Chairperson of the Israel-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce.