Sri Lanka’s apex investment promotion body, the Board of Investment (BoI), yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd (BTMU) to promote Japanese investments in Sri Lanka and foster business partnerships between Sri Lankan and Japanese entrepreneurs.
The BoI will collaborate with BTMU in hosting seminars to inform Japanese companies of foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities in Sri Lanka, communicate with BTMU of upcoming projects and especially attract industrial investments to the country.
BTMU in return will attempt to steer Japanese companies to seminars held by the BoI, introduce Japanese investors to the BoI on a personal level and facilitate meetings between the two countries, especially between investors and prospective projects.
The signatories of the agreement were BoI Chairman Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera and BTMU Managing Executive Officer and Chief Executive Officer for Asia and Oceania Go Watanabe.
The ceremony was also attended by Ambassador of Japan Nobuhito Hobo and Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana.
BTMU is the largest bank in Japan, which was established on January 1, 2006, with the merger of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd and UFJ Bank Ltd. The bank serves as the core retail and commercial banking arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and its traditional client base is made up of Japanese corporates.
Sri Lanka’s total trade with Japan in 2013 stood at US $ 894 million, increasing from US $ 770.11 million in 2012, while exports to Japan in 2013 stood at US $ 224 million, an annual increase of 4 percent.
Since 2004, total trade with Japan has increased by 58 percent from US $ 566 million.
Sri Lanka’s major exports to Japan in 2013 were tea with 22 percent, apparel 17 percent, fish and prawns 17 percent and coconut fibre/coir 8 percent.
However, Sri Lanka has an unfavourable balance of trade with Japan due to the import of high-value motor vehicles in particular.