‘UK Firms Well Placed To Win Business In SL’

UK companies and organisations are already well placed to win new business in Sri Lanka’s ‘5+1 Regional Hub’ concept, said John Rankin, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka recently.

Addressing the session on ‘Bilateral Trade Between Sri Lanka and U.K.’ on October 29 at the National Chamber of Commerce, High Commissioner Rankin noted that repeating the UK business successes in Sri Lanka of 2013 would be difficult. “But to try and maintain the commercial success UK companies enjoyed last year, we have arranged a Trade Mission to come to Sri Lanka at the end of November.”

He said that 21 UK companies had already registered to participate across all of the ‘5+1 Regional Hub’ sectors identified by Sri Lankan government as being crucial for the economic development of Sri Lanka – namely Aviation, Maritime, Knowledge, Commercial, Energy and Tourism. “This ambitious Regional Hub concept presents enormous opportunities for UK Businesses in Sri Lanka,” he said.

“UK companies and organisations are already well placed to win new business in these fields: for example the first overseas University campus in Sri Lanka is likely to come from the UK; and we are your second largest source of overseas tourism, showing a 5.4% increase to August of this year and with British tourists staying longer here and spending more money than those from other countries,” pointed out the High Commissioner.

Highlighting that Sri Lanka’s high literacy rates and skilled population placed the economy on the right footing to avoid falling into the middle-income trap, the High Commissioner said that it could be combined with investment into higher levels of human capital, advanced infrastructure, innovation, R&D and building institutions that promote dynamism, helping unleash the private sector potential that would in turn drive further growth. Commenting on Foreign Direct Investment, High Commissioner Rankin said that in any country, there was also a need to cut barriers to business, which in turn could help attract further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and consequent growth.

“Sri Lanka is an easier place to do business than most of its neighbouring countries. In 2014, Sri Lanka ranked 85th out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, and was the highest ranked country in South Asia. I believe that the business community in Sri Lanka can help improve the business climate by helping to tackle the barriers to growth and to advance good governance,” he said.