By Zahara Zuhair
With the message to the Sri Lankan government to follow the policy it was elected on, not looking left or right, German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Dr. Juergen Morhard said that a German business delegation would be visiting Sri Lanka looking for business opportunities.
“We had a delegation of parliamentarians here just three weeks ago. I have the human rights commissioner from Germany coming here next weekend and the Deputy Economic Affairs of Germany is coming here along with a business delegation.
Germany and Sri Lanka share a very cordial friendship. The Sri Lankan president, who visited Germany and the German prime minister, had liked each other so much, so that they have met four times,” he said.
He made these remarks during a brief interview with Mirror Business at the launch of Audi A4 held at Hilton Colombo recently.
The envoy, who ends his term in Sri Lanka in July 2016, said that the Sri Lankan president’s recent visit to Germany in February 2016 was much important as it brought Sri Lanka to the attention of the German business community.
“Now the first reaction is the business delegation coming here looking for investment opportunities; they are very confident with all the changes here.
There will be more companies coming here. Particularly last year we saw four investments coming in for the IT sector,” he said.
“Investment takes time. You need to do studies - feasibility studies, which we can’t do overnight,” he added.
He said in order to boost investor confidence Sri Lanka needs to be strong in pharmaceutical, tourism and IT sectors. He also said if the infrastructure was not properly improved the companies would move to other countries.
When asked for his views about the current government, he said that it is going in the right track. “But they cannot do miracles overnight because of the high debt situation, which needs to be solved.”
He noted that trade between Sri Lanka and Germany accounts for a total of US $ 800 million. Sri Lanka exports textiles, garments, rubber, tea, vegetable products, etc., and imports fabrics, iron and steel products, motor vehicles, paper products, etc., from Germany.
During the Sri Lankan president’s visit, the two countries had agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations and promote development activities in Sri Lanka through German assistance. They signed agreements on a wide range of cooperation that includes education, language, sports, etc. Germany agreed to provide a donation of Euro 18 million to Sri Lanka.