Germany confirms October delegation to Colombo
Posted on May 7th, 2013

PRESS COMMUNIQUE “”…” MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY & COMMERCE, SRI LANKA

As Sri Lanka and the leading economy of the EU, the Federal Republic of Germany, together mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the Eurozone leader is looking to enhance its profile in Sri Lanka significantly. And the race for Sri Lanka’s key strategic resource (rare earth elements and mineral sands) has just tightened with Germany too exploring this crucial domestic sector, which is poised for a boom. “I too believe that there is strong unrealised potential for trade and investment cooperation between the two countries as we arrive at the 60th anniversary of our bilateral relations. A top German investment delegation is now scheduled for Colombo this October” revealed German Ambassador to Sri Lanka (HE) Dr. JƒÆ’†’¼rgen Morhard on 24 April.

(HE) Dr. Morhard who made a courtesy call on Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) on 24 April was responding to the Minister at the EDB premises in Colombo.

SLGernman

On 25 February, RA Ekkehard Stein, Immediate Past President of DAW German-Asian Business Circle (Deutsch-Asiatischer Wirtschaftskreis e. V) announced that DAW is planning to send a representative team of German investors to study emerging opportunities in Sri Lanka. “The team could be visiting Sri Lanka this August or somewhat later” he stressed, addressing the 2013 DAW Asia Pacific Forum on 25 February at Maritim Hotel in Frankfurt, where Minister Bathiudeen, representing Sri Lanka, was also taking part in the Forum.

(HE) Dr. Morhard, on 24 April did not specify the details of the October investment delegation. Nevertheless, it should be stressed that several notable German private sector giants were in attendance at the 2013 DAW Asia Pacific Forum on 25 February in Frankfurt, where Vietnam and Sri Lanka -the only two Asian economies invited to do so in the Frankfurt session- made country presentations to a keen group of potential high level German investors and business ventures seeking to expand to new destinations in Asia. Among the giants present were Eurex Frankfurt AG, Duetsche Borse Group, IVP Group Germany GmbH, Asico Handels GmbH, MAZARS GmbH, Adam Opel AG, SWB GmbH, LUTHER LLP, and VietinBank, and Rigging Service GmbH. Germany is the leading Eurozone investor in Sri Lanka with 170 investment projects currently in the country. German investments in Sri Lanka are protected by the bilateral Investment Protection Guarantee Agreement. Among leading German firms in Sri Lanka are BASF Finlay and Kramsky GMBH.

“On behalf of our government, I extend our thanks to the Deutsch-Asiatischer Wirtschaftskreis e. V and the German government for giving the opportunity to Sri Lanka to showcase its new upswing at the 2013 DAW Asia Pacific Forum. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our bilateral relations, I realise that there is strong potential for trade and investment development between the two countries that we can jointly explore” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “We specially encourage German firms to invest in our rare earth elements and mineral sands. We like Germany’s high industrial expertise and know-how that can, without doubt, enhance Sri Lanka’s mineral-sands sector. This is a sector we believe that urgently needs value addition capacity support, so that we can capitalize on the emerging global opportunities presented by this commodity.”

“We too are exploring Lanka’s REE & mineral sands sector’ revealed (HE) Dr. Morhard, and added: “I am already talking with a German firm regarding investing in Sri Lanka’s REE and mineral sands sector.” (HE) Dr. Morhard refrained from elaborating any further. Not only top German mining groups such as Deutsche Rohstoff AG, but even leading German energy firms such as Siemens AG are keen consumers of REE and mineral sands in bulk.

On 01 April,  (HE) Wu Jianghao (China’s Ambassador in Sri Lanka), during his courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen, stressed: “We too want a more pragmatic trade relationship with Sri Lanka. China welcomes more export product diversity from Sri Lanka. The expansion (of Lanka-China trade and investments) to mineral sands (in Sri Lanka) will certainly help in this direction for quality “ƒ”¹…”Made in China’ products.”

In 2012, Germany purchased 0.91 Mn of REE and mineral sands from Sri Lanka of which 92% consisted of graphite. In the same year, Sri Lanka’s overall rare earth & mineral exports to the world totalled $ 42.7 Mn, rising by a strong 30% from 2011’s $ 32.86 Mn.  65% of Y2012 exports consisted of Mineral Sands followed by Silica & Quarts (20%), Graphite (10%), Mica (3%) and other Natural Sands (2%). China was the lead buyer of Lankan Mineral Sands in 2012. The lead buyer of “ƒ”¹…”Other Natural Sands’ was India. According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, bilateral trade volume between Germany and Sri Lanka stood at $ 771.69Mn in 2012.

According to the EDB, Germany is ranked as the 6th exporting partner of Sri Lanka representing 4.8% ($ 451.9 Mn) of Lanka’s exports in 2012.  Sri Lanka’s main exports to Germany are apparel & clothing, solid tyres, Tea, gloves, rubber tyres, Natural rubber, fish and leather products while motor cars, electrical Machinery, Organo-sulphur compounds, Instruments and appliances used in medical surgical, and sounds recorders constituted major import items to Sri Lanka from Germany.

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