May 18, 2012
External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has had talks with Samantha Power, special assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama and senior director of Multilateral Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC).
The External Affairs Ministry said that Minister Peiris gave the NSC staff members a comprehensive update on post-conflict developments in Sri Lanka, progress on reconciliation and the work of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, including the government’s effort to adopt the commission’s recommendations.
Minister G.L. Peiris also met separately with Deputy United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, and took part in an extensive discussion on trade and the economy. He also pressed Ambassador Marantis for early closure of a review of the generalized system of preferences (GSP) for trade that exists between the U.S. and Sri Lanka.
Minister Peiris briefed Ambassador Marantis on a range of political and economic developments in Sri Lanka that are designed to both create more investment opportunities for US companies, as well as bolster ongoing reconciliation measures following Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long war against terrorism.
Minister Peiris highlighted Sri Lanka’s steady economic growth in recent years amid a global slowdown, with an 8.3 % GDP in 2011.
Minister Peiris also noted that growing prosperity in Sri Lanka will create enormous opportunities for U.S. investors, and he expressed his appreciation to U.S. private sector for placing confidence in Sri Lanka by committing a number of large scale investments, especially in the fast-growing tourism and financial sectors.
The U.S. was the largest single buyer of Sri Lankan goods in 2011, taking nearly 22 % of total exports worth (U.S.) $2.15 billion.
Ambassador Marantis, while welcoming Minster Peiris and the Sri Lankan delegation, expressed appreciation for the notable progress made by Sri Lanka in number of areas, including the matters concerning the Lanka-U.S. GSP review.
“At the USTR, we are extremely happy to see the level of commitment from the Sri Lankan side,” Ambassador Marantis said. “We are hopeful that soon after the U.S. inter-agency consultation process, the final decision will be made available. We remain very positive.”