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Britain to promote SL as base for UK companies

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Enhancing bilateral trade and promoting Sri Lanka as a dynamic base for UK-based businesses will be among the main areas the Ceylon Chamber’s Council for Business with Britain (CBB) will focus on over the next year, stated CBB President Tania Polonowita Wettimuny at the Council’s AGM recently.

Taking on the mantle of leadership for the year 2022/23, Wettimuny stressed the ‘importance of creating long-term sustainable economic reforms’ and the role that organisations such as the CBB have to play in supporting economic recovery.

Highlighting that the UK is the second largest market for Sri Lanka in terms of apparel and software, and the second largest source market for tourism so far this year, she added that ‘it is of paramount importance that we continue to nurture this market and build on it for future trade and FDI, by fostering business on both sides and building on the trade corridor’.

UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton thanked the CBB for its submission to the public consultation for the UK’s recently announced Developing Countries Trading Scheme, which will benefit Sri Lankan exports, and expressed the UK’s commitment to strengthening bilateral ties by supporting existing partnerships and facilitating collaboration in new sectors such as green technology.

The Guest of Honour, Export Development Board Chairman Suresh De Mel addressed the audience on the new initiatives of the EDB to support export trade and develop trade partnerships through the current economic challenges.

Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, delivering the keynote address expressed confidence that once a Staff-Level Agreement is reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of the month, it would enable a clearer picture of debt sustainability and debt targets for Sri Lanka to achieve in the next 10 years.

He added that once Sri Lanka unveils a macro-economic programme in the medium to long-term, along with structural reforms, endorsed by the IMF, this would ensure significant credibility and encourage creditors to support Sri Lanka in its efforts to ensure debt-sustainability.

The 2022/23 executive committee comprises Vice Presidents Shirendra Lawrence – MAS Holdings Ltd. and Ameena Ziauddin, Development Director, Norfolk Foods Ltd., Treasurer, Irfan Thassim – Oceanpick, and Immediate Past President, Roshanie J. Moraes – Link Natural Ltd.

Unilever Sri Lanka Chairperson Hajar Alafifi, Hayleys PLC Director Sarath Ganegoda, Commercial Bank MD Sanath Manatunge, London Stock Exchange Group SL Chief Financial Officer and Head of Finance Centre of Excellence for Sri Lanka Fadhil Jiffry, Finlays Group SL, MD Gihan Jayasinghe, De La Rue Director and Plant Manager, Sri Lanka Currency Derek Mansfield, Hilton Colombo Residences General Manager Karim Schadlou, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Sri Lanka and Maldives Mark Surgenor, Hirdaramani Group Director Nikhil Hirdaramani, and KPMG Principal – Deal Advisory Shiluka Gunawardena, were also appointed as Members of the Committee.

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