The collaboration between the Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK) and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka successfully concluded bilateral trade discussion at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone recently.
The German investor fraternity has been lifelong partners in doing business in Sri Lanka and they proudly claim the status of “first movers “of Sri Lankan FDI heritage. Accordingly, the total Foreign Direct Investment received from German investments since 2005 stands at USD Mn 127 Mn while there have been 37 commercial projects in numerous sectors including apparel, electronic products, light/heavy engineering, rubber-based products, gems and jewellery, tourism, and recreational projects.
Further, technological know-how is one of the key elements that German investment inculcates among Sri Lanka workers. It is also synonymous with the quality aspect of manufacturing and its makes “Made in Sri Lanka” more competitive in global business today due to the German rich technological industrial practices.
The key objective of the meeting is to seek both countries’ solidarity in investment and revisit doing business with Sri Lanka for existing investors and a way forward for the future of German investment in Sri Lanka.
At the very outset BOI Chairman, Mr. Raja Edirisuriya highlighted that the long-standing relationship with AHK paves the way to bringing continued FDI to the country and appreciated AHK’s contribution to building a “good country image” for Sri Lanka. Further, he pointed out that the BOI is committed to serving the German business community in Sri Lanka and further emphasized on newly founded Investor Facilitation Center (IFC) at the BOI.
While thanking the German business community for their keen interest, the Director General of BOI, Ms. Renuka M Weerakone pointed out that German investors can reach India and Pakistan via Sri Lankan bilateral trade agreements with respective countries. She further stated that bilateral trade agreements with Thailand and Singapore will also be possible within the next year which enables German investors to access respective markets as well.
For this discussion, senior management of leading German companies’ representatives participated. Namely, Continental Tyers, KRAMSKI Lanka, Lanka Leather. COCO Lanka, Lanka Dynamics, and Eskimo Apparel.
The key points of concern raised by the companies related to sustainable policy continuation in respect of doing business in Sri Lanka with emphasis on Tax policy on exports of the BOI companies. It was also highlighted on current HR issues such as recruiting blue-collar and white-collar workers with recent migration trend. BOI officials pointed out the Job Bank facility at Katunayake Trade Zone and further appraised respective company HR departments about recruitment and training need requirements which BOI would be able to facilitate by arranging training and development via respective government vocational training institutes such as NAITA, VTA.
In this AHK- BOI collaborative session, all top senior management members of the BOI participated and most of the recurrent problems were discussed, further, the company representatives put forward constructive ideas for creating a better investor ecosystem for future business in Sri Lanka for German companies.