‘’ROLE OF AMBASSIES AND CONSULATES IN PROMOTING EXPORTS AND INVESTMENTS’’
Posted on July 23rd, 2021

Sarath Wijesinghe former Ambassador to UAE and Israel and President Ambassador’s Forum

Knowledge and competence of an Ambassador

Ambassadors and Consuls are those nominated by the country of origin to the host country by the head of the country to represent the Head and the country and the nation, for matters specifically expected by the representatives with enormous responsibility thrust upon by the Nation. Ambassador is a diplomat and the official envoy of a nation and the head of the state, who represents the state and the head of the state usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization. Embassies are headed by Ambassadors and High Commissioners with enormous responsibilities on internal and international political and economic responsibilities mainly on promoting the good will and foreign policy other state politics and economy of the state. The candidates chosen are of the highest quality and education standers and competence to engage in diplomatic duties, such as meeting foreign leaders, Negotiate the agreements and treatises, Monitor International situations, Direct the foreign service staff, oversee foreign aid and business projects,engage and entertain visitors and many other conventional and traditional duties expected by an ambassador during the tenure of the office. Appointment of the Ambassador is the prerogative and responsibility of the head of the state, who will bear responsibility of the conduct and competence, approved by the High Post Committee of the Parliament consisting of a group of selected members of the Parliament of the competence which is rarely rejected or contested. Ambassadors should be extremely learned on the practice and conventions guided by such as the Vienna Convention and relevant treatises. Foreign policy officials may be conversant with the diplomatic process and the others selected from and out of the learned, professionals or academics will be given a brief training and expected to study by themselves. A main criteria and a requirement for an Ambassador in a commonwealth country such as Sri Lanka being an educated nation with citizens is a good commented of English language and academic excellence with high competence on written and spoken English to go through and academic or impromptu speech before audiences. Ambassadors are normally resident in the host country or supervise the neighbouring countries for convenience and the Consulates are managed by diplomats, officers in the trade Ministry, or other appointees appointed to deal with specific duties mainly on trade commerce and connected matters. Some Counsel Generals are paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of trade and in some cases they hold honorary positions for specific duties. The head of the state has the sole prerogative on the appointment of Ambassadors at his wish and generally advised by the Minister of foreign affairs which is a practice and not mandatory. Ambassadors appointed are to be of highest education qualifications of an area of discipline, and learned on foreign policy and relations and competence in spoken and written language in main languages accepted by the United Nations, preferable English Language well-mannered with excellent backgrounds in professional academic or educational standards. Today the nations have given highest priority to economic diplomacy through the state outlets including embassies and consulate offices. There is trade war and influences of world economic powers on smaller nations to align themselves to their click as the word economic powers have grouped together such as G7 and many other ways. In this context the Ambassadors and Consul Generals have a pivot role in promoting the respective states with the network of outlets worldwide using diplomatic skills and influences. In that context the economic role of the Ambassador is numerous. The privileges and responsibilities have to be developed communicated and utilized to the advantage of the country they represent. It is a part of the mandate to develop people to people contacts and take steps on economic promotion. Exploiting for FDI, investment opportunities and export promotions are to be campaigned with the help of the assigned and tamed staff on commercial dealings. Business Promotions during the global Economic Shift on activisms of China, Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa despite the shifts of the traditional west and the world effects of the corona pandemic which has shaken the world over looking for new avenues.

Diplomacy

The term diplomacy refers to dealings with other states on trade economy culture environment human rights strategies, s advantages and many other areas this is generally led by the leader of the state with the foreign minister and the embassies around the world. In some countries the foreign minister is entrusted with the work personally handled by the head of the estate. Some countries the head handles in person. State deal with the rest of the countries via foreign ministers, the Ambassadors and embassies. Ambassadors have adopted a similar method in running the Embassies and performing duties with other Embassies and host countries including the business communities Chambers of Commerce and Trade Organizations. Today the Foreign Ministry of a country performs a pivotal role on economic development and therefore will go beyond traditional diplomacy in dealing with the member states. Countries have given highest priority to Economic Trade investment and business resulting in an amalgamation of economic and traditional diplomacy in the interaction between states. With the advent of modern developments in technology and communication, states have been brought closer than ever where news and information is imparted in seconds breaking all traditional barriers. Trade war has replaced traditional wars as the priority of any modern nation is promotion of trade, commerce and other sectors such as agriculture and hi-tech innovations. Economic Diplomacy is a form of diplomacy to utilize the full spectrum of economic facts and realities in a State to achieve success in international goals in foreign policy which is an extension of national policy and interest. This includes all policy issues and economic activities in the private and public sector which in turn concerns economic policy issues. In UAE the heads of business Chambers have been elevated to the positions of Ambassadors and the State is patronizing the business community. Sri Lanka have an Embassy in Abu – Dhabi rich in oil, and the consulate in Dubai the business commercial and tourist canters with large number of Asian and African labor force.

Her Highness ‘Sheikha Lubna’ (Minister of Foreign Trade) personally led the powerful forty member trade delegation to Sri Lanka,

 Initiated by then Ambassador in UAE, with a strong delegation of over forty and in return to Sri Lanka with similar assignments and goodwill. This trend was followed by the initiation of the Embassy and Ambassador to invite the President of Sri Lanka to UAE for the Energy Summit and bilateral discussions which are duties and responsibilities of the Embassy and the Ambassador. The Israeli Chambers made a number of trade missions to Sri Lanka and a rousing welcome was given to the Sri Lankan Head of State concentrating on trade and commerce in addition to traditional diplomacy having had a series of serious discussions with then Prime Minister Mr ‘Nethinharue’. The visit was initiated by the embassy and Ambassador of Israel especially to exchange the innovations and knowledge of the agricultural and other innovations with strengthening bilateral relations. Ambassadors in EU ware actively canvassing Sri Lankan Government on business avenues and facilities. Even the Ambassadors in world powers such as USA, UK, France, China Germany and other major powers have given targets to the Ambassadors for mega projects on aviation, Infrastructure and development schemes for projects. All the states in the world family has given top priority to economic progress through economic diplomacy process. Economic policies are formulated and implemented with the guidance and direction of the Ambassadors with the Foreign Ministry/Minister for development and to obtain resources, funds and business which is a competitive factor and a science today. Economic policy is independent on the foreign policy of the country and should generally be consistent irrespective of the change of governments. In India governments will change but not the foreign and economic policies. This is the case in many parts of the world and it is time we follow suit in our own interest. State craft in economic diplomacy by the term diplomacy refers to dealings with other states on Trade, War, Economy, Culture, Environment, Human Rights, Strategic advantages and many other areas. This is generally led by the leader of the State with the Foreign Minister and the Embassies around the world. In some countries the Foreign Minister is entrusted with the work personally handled by the head of the state. Some countries the head handles it in person and some through the Foreign Minister depending on the trust and the relationship with the head of the state and respective ministers.

Embassies and Consulates

States deal with the rest of the world via the Foreign Ministries, the Ambassadors and Embassies. Ambassadors have adopted a unique  methods in running the Embassies and performing duties with other Embassies and host countries including the business communities Chambers of Commerce and Trade Organizations traditionally on and with the advice of the respective Foreign Ministries and head of states , which gives an impact of the country and the future on investments and exports. Today the Foreign Ministry of a country performs a pivotal role on economic development and therefore will go beyond traditional diplomacy in dealing with the member states on trade commerce including exports and investments. Sri Lanka has 50 Embassies and 103 consulates in the network dealing with the rest of the world. Countries have given highest priority to Economic Trade investment and business resulting in an amalgamation of economic and traditional diplomacy in the interaction between states. With the advent of modern developments in technology and communication, states have been brought closer than ever where news and information is imparted in seconds breaking all traditional barriers. Trade war has replaced traditional wars as the priority of any modern nation is promotion of trade, commerce and other sectors such as agriculture and hi-tech innovations. Diplomatic missions spread worldwide as EU319, China 276, USA273, France 267, japan 247, Russia 282,UK 205,and Sri Lanka 67 of the states indicate the diplomatic network and connections which is linked to economy and foreign relations, UN acting in the middle playing an important an pivotal role as the world organization actively involved  with the states via IMF,WTO, and other subsidiary organizations linked and supervised via the Vienna Convention and diplomatic relations of 1961,with links with  the 1815 initiative. International Relations is relations with states with each other and with international organizations and groups with the basis of and connected to diplomacy and diplomatic relations with and among states, which are a set of formal legal institutions now consisting of over 190 nation states which are sovereign based on the UN Charter, with political and economic entities full of economic and political nationalism toward themselves.

Promoting investments and exports

The main and pivot roles expected by the Embassies and Consulates of respective states are, promoting the policies and businesses of respective nations, the trade policies exports and investments as the main outlets of the state. Whether this is adequately done in Sri Lanka by the network of Sri Lankan Ambassadors and Counsel Generals is a moot issue, but we find many Embassies worldwide small or large stationed in Sri Lanka works hard in promoting their policies and businesses in promoting their respective nations. Though we are not aware and known the allegations of a leading lady ambassador in a most powerful country approaching the Oil Minister in influencing a mega deal, we are aware these things are happening in Sri Lanka discreetly and openly canvassing their respective countries that we have not heard of on our Ambassadors and Counsel Generals worldwide which is not a satisfactory situation. In the circumstances steps taken by the International Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka in partnership with Sri Lanka- China Business Counsel of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Colombo stock Exchange, European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, and the daily Financial Times in organizing a webinar to discuss the role of Embassies and Consulates in promoting exports and Investments on 31str of July 2021, from04.PM – 06.00 PM (SL time) and will live casted via ICCL Facebook TV CH.20on Peo – TV is on the right direction salutary and encouraging indeed.

The Keynote address to the webinar to be delivered by Ambassador Robert Blake, – currently US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs from 2009-2013, while presentations to be delivered by Mr Crispin Conroy AM Ambassador/Permanent observer to the United nations at Geneva and Representative to  the World Trade Organization at ICC, with  PENALIATS Mr Rohitha Bogollagama – former Minister of Foreign Affairs in  Sri Lanka, H.E Saroja Sirisena – High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to United  Kingdom, – H.E  Shashikala Premawardena High commissioner of Sri Lanka to Singapore, – H.E.Riaz Hamimidullah Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands  – H.E Dr Palitha Kohona, – Mr Bernadrd Goonatilaka a former Secretory to Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka , – H.E Saroja Sirisena –  High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the  United Kingdom, H.E.Shashikla Premewardena  – High Commissioner of Singapore, H.E.Riaz Hamidullah Ambassador of Bangaladesh to the Netherlands ,H.E Dr Palitha Kohona Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the Peoples Rebublic of China – Mr Sarath Wijesinghe President’s Counsel and former Ambassador to UAE and Israel, President Ambassador’s Forum Mr  Lasiri Mendis Former Ambassador to Austria, Mr Sanjaya Mohattala Chairman Board of Investments Sri Lanka, Mr Rajive Bandarneika CEO Colombo Exchange Mr Laxman Hulugalle  Counsel General to Sydney Australia, Dr Jurgen Morhard Consulate General German Consulate General Mumbai India, Dr Prakesh Pandey first Secetary Economic and Commercial Indian High Commission of Sri Lanka, – Mr Li Guangjun Economic and Commercial Consular Embassy of Peoples Republic of China with  Moderators Mr Buddhitha K Atauda former Ambassador to Netherlands France and Spain Mr Dinesh Weerakoody, and Mr Nister Cassim. Webinar is open to those who register themselves in advance which will cater the diplomats, academics, students, and those interested in foreign policy and foreign relations.

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