Indian industrialists to invest US$ 5 bn in SL
*Plan to open two industrial zones
August 3, 2012, 12:00 pm
By Mario Andree
Visiting Indian Minister Anand Sharma yesterday announced that his country’s private sector would invest five billion US dollars in Sri Lanka.
Accompanied by 108 Indian corporate heads, India’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma said it was time that the two countries looked at strengthening their economic partnership which would be facilitated by the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
India would provide Sri Lanka preferential access to the large Indian market through the CEPA focusing on sharing the economic prosperity his country was enjoying with its neighbour. Yesterday morning, the visiting Indian minister had several discussions, on setting up two industrial zones in Sri Lanka, in order to increase exports from Sri Lanka.
According to him, there were no complex issues in the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement which could not be solved. He said that the two countries needed to look at CEPA more interactively to achieve high growth rates.
India was ready, he said, to render support to Sri Lanka by preferential access to the large Indian market and also to assist the country financially to share his country’s economic prosperity.
He said the two countries would conduct several meetings on increasing trade and achieving the target of US$ 10 billion, from the current 5 billion, by 2015, utilizing the fullest potential of both countries.
Trade between the two countries had been low, despite the immense potential existing in both markets, he said adding that India was looking for more imports from Sri Lanka and the two governments were negotiating on several agreements which would be finalized shortly.
Sharma said that after the discussions with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Minster of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen last morning India had decided to establish two industrial zones in the country to support Sri Lanka in achieving high growth.
He said the two governments decided to establish the two zones to provide employment and also promote exports to India. India wanted Sri Lanka to enter its value chain.
A joint committee will be appointed for the evaluation of an engineering, automotive and manufacturing zone in Trincomalee, Sharma said adding that they would finalise the Indian committee members by last evening.
He also said the country was looking at establishing a pharmaceutical zone in Sri Lanka and pointed out that there was a delegation appointed in that regard and they would arrive in Sri Lanka next month.