BY R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN – The Hindu –
India-Sri Lanka bilateral trade has increased by over 65% last year, close to U.S. $5 billion, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha, has said.
According to Mr. Kantha, Indian companies had invested about U.S. $150 million in Sri Lanka last year. He said both countries are witnessing a boom in real estate segment and construction industry, which provides opportunities for enhanced cooperation. Construction sector in both countries is likely to grow faster than broader economy over the next five years, he said, and outlined the opportunities for Indian companies in Sri Lanka and for Sri Lankan companies in India.
Mr. Kantha was speaking at ‘India Investrade 2012: An exposition and Buyer Seller Meet on Realty Construction & Construction Materials,’ organised here by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata, from April 26 to April 28. The event is supported by the Indian Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing & Common Amenities, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.
As many as 50 Indian companies participated in the exposition showcasing their profile in building materials, construction equipment and technologies, electrical and sanitary fittings, flooring and roofing material landscaping, consultancy, property development, financial service for construction.
The three day event comprised of Exhibition, Conference and Buyer-Seller Meet. The purpose of the event was to promote and facilitate trade and business engagement in the construction and construction material sectors, to provide a platform to introduce the Indian entrepreneurs to their Sri Lankan counterparts and promote the process of business engagement, exchange of ideas and facilitate G2G, G2B and B2B interaction on various issues pertaining to the construction industry of both the countries.
At the inauguration, Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development, said that the Sri Lankan economy has been growing over 8 per cent percent in past two years, which has resulted in high growth in the construction sector. He said that India has achieved a lot in the construction sector and that Indian companies can play a role in the Sri Lankan market by partnering with Sri Lankan companies. Commenting on the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Rajapaksa said that FTA has been helpful in rapid growth of bilateral trade and invited the Indian companies to invest in Sri Lanka in sectors like construction, tourism, education and skill development.