At the head table BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya and Masuyuki Matsushita, Vice Chairman and Chairman International Committee of Kansai Economic Federation, Kankeiren and also Vice Chairman of the Board of Panasonic Corporation
Delegation from Kankeiren
The Board of Investment (BoI) hosted a delegation from the Kansai region of Japan, which consisted of many Japanese multinational companies. The delegation, which was on a fact-finding mission, was led by Masuyuki Matsushita, Vice Chairman and Chairman International Committee of Kansai Economic Federation, Kankeiren, and also Vice Chairman of the Board of Panasonic Corporation.
The delegation also consisted of senior executives of the Kansai Economic Federation, representatives of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as well-known Japanese corporations such as Takenaka Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Hitachi Zosen Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Dailan Industries and Mitsui and Co.
Also present at the meeting was Waste Management Authority Chairperson Ruwini Dharmasiri.
BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya welcomed the delegation. He spoke of the longstanding friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. Sri Lanka’s modern relations with Japan go back to the San Francisco Conference of 1946, when Ceylon’s delegate J.R. Jayewardene took a strong stand, quoting Buddhist texts, asking for Japan to be forgiven and reintegrated into the family of nations.
He added that there had been mutual support each time either Sri Lanka or Japan had experienced difficulties such as tsunamis. Jayasuriya welcomed Japanese investments in Sri Lanka stating that the country is very business friendly and was engaged in efforts to move up in the Doing Business Index.
JICA Advisor to BoI Kaizo Tsuchiya said in Japanese “The BoI is the main agency to contact should you wish to start projects in Sri Lanka. The BoI can provide you with the best information. Also it has very strong ties with all Sri Lankan line agencies. Please visit the BoI individually and we are ready to guide you personally.”
The delegation was briefed on the advantages to invest in Sri Lanka by BoI Executive Director Investment Promotion Renuka Weerakone. BoI Executive Director Research and Policy Advocacy Champika Malalgoda also did a presentation covering Sri Lanka’s trade relations and the advantageous free trade agreements that Sri Lanka has entered into with India and Pakistan. These agreements will provide access to enter large South Asian markets to Japanese companies should they decide to invest in Sri Lanka.
Another presentation on the environmental status of Sri Lanka and energy conservation policy was conducted by BoI Director Environment Sherine Perera. The subject of environmental changes and opportunities available for Japanese investors was covered by Waste Management Authority of Sri Lanka Director Nalin Mannapperuma.
The Japanese side also briefed the BoI on the Kansai Economic Federation, which is Japan’s largest economic area, encompassing Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. This area has a population of nearly 21 million and a gross regional product of US $ 936 billion (2012).
The Kansai area in economic terms is comparable in gross domestic product (GDP) volume to Indonesia and larger than many independent states such as Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Kansai has extensive trade relations with Asia and in particular, China but also has close ties with the European Union and United States.
Sri Lanka’s imports from the Kansai region goods are worth US $ 1.2 billion and include used cars, machinery including power generating and textile machines, textiles and fabric and electrical machinery. Sri Lankan exports to the Kansai region good worth US $ 0.2 billion and are mainly fish and tuna products, clothing and accessories and rubber manufactured products.
Hence, this meeting is very important as it provided an opportunity for these companies which are multinationals and world leaders in their respective sectors to truly understand the potential that Sri Lanka can offer Japanese enterprises. This visit follows a recent investment promotion mission by the BoI to Japan and reflects the growing ties between Sri Lanka and Japan in the fields of investment and trade.