The premier annual trade event in historic US-Sri Lanka relations opened for the 11th time in Colombo yesterday and a top US institution that ensures ‘Made in America’ brand across the world, is renewing its ties with Sri Lanka after more than a decade.
“The US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is the premier dialogue for managing bilateral trade and investment relationship between both countries. This relationship amounts to US $ 3 billion,” visiting Assistant United States Trade Representative for Central and South Asia Michael Delaney said.
Joining the opening session were Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to USA Prasad Kariyawasam, Commerce Department Director General R.D.S. Kumararatne and Export Development Board Chairman Bandula Egodage.
The technical session is co-chaired by Trade Representative Delaney and Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena.
“The US greatly values its trade and investment relationship with Sri Lanka. That relationship is responsible for a lot of beneficial things and is hundreds of years old. Today, we, in this room, have been entrusted to manage this relationship and take the necessary measures that will enable it to continue to grow. Our economic relationship is about creating employment and prosperity for both our countries,” Delaney said.
“The TIFA has become a very effective mechanism for the two governments to advance trade and investment interests, since it began in 2002. As Sri Lanka takes on a journey to become the economic hub of South Asia, it is clear that the TIFA’s importance would continue to grow,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
The US has been the single largest buyer of our exports since 1979. Bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 21 percent to US $ 2.8 billion in 2013, compared to 2012.
The US absorbs 23 percent of Sri Lanka’s annual total exports, of which 73 percent comes from high-end apparels.
So far, there have been more than 220 US investment projects to the value of around US $ 400 million.
“Speaking of investments, I have been given to understand that the US Export Import Bank has renewed its partnership with Sri Lanka after almost a decade. Through its facilitation, a US company has invested US $ 65 million in a water supply project in the Badulla District. I invite other US investors to make use of Export Import Bank’s benchmark initiative for infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka,” Minister Bathiudeen added.
The US Export Import Bank (Exim Bank) is the export credit agency of the US and also is the top US institution ensuring ‘Made in America’ brand across the world. It finances American private sector exports of goods and services.