The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye S. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake met with President of the Ankara Chamber of Industry Seyit Ardıç and Secretary General of the Ankara Chamber of Industry Yavuz Cabbar on 1 March 2023 at the Ankara Chamber of Industry.
It was noted that both Ambassador Dissanayake and the President of the Ankara Chamber of Industry assumed duties in their respective positions in Ankara almost at the same time.
Secretary General Cabbar briefed the Ambassador on the profiles of the Chamber's members and highlighted that the strong industries of the Ankara Chamber are defense, mining, construction, household electrical appliances, electricity distribution equipment and medical equipment including sophisticated robots used in surgeries.
The Ambassador thanked President Ardıç for the meeting and expressed her deepest condolences to the families that lost loved ones in the recent earthquakes in the southern part of Türkiye. The earthquake has claimed the lives of more than 45,000 people as of 01 March 2023. She said that although Sri Lanka has been going through a difficult period, there have been contributions such as tea and winter clothing to the victims. The Ambassador further stated that a UN-trained disaster response team is ready to assist in search and rescue operations. President Ardıç thanked the Ambassador and the Government of Sri Lanka for the support extended and also for taking the lead in coordinating a donation from the diplomatic corps in Ankara to the Türkiye Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD).
The Ambassador spoke about opportunities for manufacturing industries in Sri Lanka for which most raw materials can be sourced in Sri Lanka, particularly minerals, fish and agricultural products, traditional export products, modern export products and services, skilled and trained human resources, incentives for investment, bilateral agreements and MoUs with Türkiye that would facilitate bilateral economic cooperation, the foreign investments already in Sri Lanka, particularly from Türkiye. She also added that value addition in Sri Lanka could make certain products eligible for reduced tariffs to enter into specific markets using various trade arrangements Sri Lanka has with countries particularly in South Asia.
Among traditional products she highlighted the significance of gems and cinnamon, the history of global trade of which dates back to over two millennia. Among modern products and services she highlighted the rubber industry, apparel industry, tea, ceramic and porcelain, handloom and fabric-based household items, toys, ports and shipping services, IT services, tourism sector related services, among others. She also explained that even though Sri Lanka is a small country, it is blessed with diverse natural resources based on geological legacy of the country.
Sri Lanka's expertise in Ayurvedic healthcare facilities, that provide a range of treatment for effective long management of terminal illnesses according to the western medical systems, over and above therapies for wellness and cosmetic benefits were highlighted. She added that Ayurvedic medicine has also helped Sri Lankans to manage some of the symptoms of COVID-19.
The Ambassador also added that having committed in its National Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2021, that it is committed to generating 70% of its power needs from renewable energy sources by 2030, and being a tropical country with sunshine and wind and having pure graphite, from which graphene is manufactured, Sri Lanka welcomes investments in the renewable energy sector.
President Ardıç showed interest in the gem mining, glass industry and renewable energy. He was enthusiastic about future collaborations, exchanges of delegations and organizing information sharing sessions in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy in Colombo.
Embassy of Sri Lanka