Sri Lanka and Belarus leaders grace the Business Forum in Minsk
Posted on August 28th, 2013

By Janaka Alahapperuma

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Belarus Prime Minister Professor Mikhail Myasnikovich graced the Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Belarus Business Forum which was held at the National Library Auditorium in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. Sri Lankan President and Belarus Premier participated the occasion as chief guests. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Economy Minister of the Belarus Republic, Nikolai Snopkov also joined the two leaders.
Both leaders and other distinguished guests were warmly welcomed at the entrance by Sri Lankan traditional drummers and dancers. The guests lighted the traditional oil lamp at the launch of the first ever Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Belarus Business Forum in Minsk.
The Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Belarus Business Forum had been organized to identify potential areas for collaboration in order to further develop economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. On the side line of the forum a large-scale presentation of big tourist operators and hotels of Sri Lanka was also held for representatives of the Belarusian tourist industry.
After the presentation of tourist opportunities of Sri Lanka, the Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mikhail Miatlikov noted Sri Lanka is a new country for Belarus and our holidaymakers could visit this country and turn their tourist market to become livelier. The high level of service, natural beauty and ancient history will appeal to the tourists. Speaking at the Business Forum he further said Sri Lankan delegation is interested in export of certain Belarusian goods such as sugar, tires and oil products. Therefore the heads of the states agreed on setting up joint ventures for those industries.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, speaking at the Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Belarus Business Forum, described the attractive options available in Sri Lanka for foreign direct investment. The companies of Sri Lanka are interested in establishing business contacts with Belarusian organizations working in automobile manufacturing, production of agricultural equipment, energy, juridical, insurance and banking services, tourism and hospitality, logistics, sales of tea, spices, dressing, fruit and vegetables, seafood, production and sales of rubber goods, sales of products based on coconut fibre, production of leather footwear, textile products, the Minister noted.
The Belarusian Prime Minister asserted that the Business Forum organized on the sidelines of President RajapaksaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s three day state visit would be a harbinger to meet the desires of the two countries. Claiming that this cooperation should not be limited only to economic and trade, he mentioned monetary planning, technology, specialist services, energy, education and culture as other sectors. The Belarusian Prime Minister also emphasised that both countries would stand to benefit by selling goods produced in Sri Lanka through joint ventures not only in the island but in other countries of the region.
Delegations of business men and women from both Sri Lanka and Belarus attended the Forum with the objective of strengthening cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries. Representatives of 26 companies and conglomerates of Sri Lanka took part in the business forum and business matchmaking session. The chair of the group of companies- Sri Lanka, Joel Selvanayagam said “We have enormous potential and technologies. By uniting them we can advance our economiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.
The Forum identified there are plenty of opportunities for Sri Lanka-Belarus joint business ventures. Among the identified joint ventures are sectors such agricultural gear including tractors and trucks, manufacture of motor vehicles including passenger buses, milk and milk-based products, infant food and goods for children, footwear andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  goods required by the military.
Numerous agreements were signed during the business forum including the Memorandum on cooperation between the National Center of Marketing and the Council of Export Development of Sri Lanka. Leaders of both countries were of the view that such business forums provide a good opportunity for both countries to work towards implementing the agreements that were signed.
The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Ambassador in Russia Udayanga Weeratunga and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne were also present.
Pix By: Sudath Silva

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