Lanka to woo investments, tourists from USA

US Secretary of State, John Kerry being with Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera.

Sri Lanka is keen to woo more investments and tourists from USA, said Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.In a joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Samaraweera said Sri Lanka is also seeking foreign investment help and technical expertise.

“Sri Lanka has been considered a paradise for tourists for many years but our government is now also keen to make Sri Lanka an investors’ paradise,” he told the visiting U.S. Secretary of State .

Kerry said that he and Samaraweera had agreed to establish an annual bilateral dialogue between the two countries and said the United States would immediately send experts to advise the new government on economic growth, trade and investment.

In the first official engagement by A US Secretary of State in more than 40 years, Kerry said South Asia is one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. He said the U.S. is backing economic integration among countries in South and South East Asia, as a way to strengthen local economies.

“Trade among its countries amounts to some five percent of total trade and the cost of doing business across borders due to non-tariff barriers, import duties and bottlenecks at border crossings is a huge impediment to growth, ” Kerry said.

He said that the US is seeking to revive U.S. ties with the tiny South Asian island nation after several years. In addition to promoting regional trade, Kerry said the United States is also looking to broaden bilateral ties with Sri Lanka.

The U.S. also agreed to an annual bilateral dialogue and pledged to improve economic ties. Currently, the U.S. is Sri Lanka’s largest overseas market, with $2.5 billion annual exports, comprised mostly of textiles.

On a strategic level, Sri Lanka’s location along the maritime route between the manufacturing hubs of East Asia and the growing consumer markets of Africa and the Middle East present the United States with a compelling case for tightening ties.

American exports to Sri Lanka totaled $314m in 2013, the last year for which the US trade representative offers figures.

That was 40% higher than the previous year, but still far below the potential value offered by a market of more than 20 million Sri Lankans, who on average have significantly more spending power than their neighbors in India.

Sri Lankan exports to the US were about $2.5bn in 2013.The United States has been promoting the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, a trade plan designed to spur growth in both regions.

“I have also asked teams from across our government to mobilize quickly to provide technical assistance,” added Kerry.

Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/lanka-woo-investments-tourists-usa

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