Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament that Sri Lanka is also building up prospects for investments from other friendly countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand.
He said that obtaining diverse sources of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) is important for reducing Sri Lanka’s dependence on apparel and tea which account for over half the value of Sri Lanka’s exports.
Samaraweera said that the current government was elected last year on a mandate to create one million jobs within five years by increasing investment and boosting exports.
“Therefore, the only choice available to Sri Lanka is securing FDI and enabling private sector led growth. As the experience of many countries, especially our East Asian neighbors shows, FDI is the common feature of every major development success story – from capitalist Hong Kong to communist China and every stripe of governance system in between,” he said.
The Foreign Minister also noted that one quick and important way of demonstrating good faith and signaling that Sri Lanka is open for business is by signing investment promotion and protection agreements.
He said that signing these agreements helps ensure that there is a transparent and level playing field for all investors.
“There are around 3000 such investment promotion and protection agreements in effect around the world. China, according to UNCTAD, has 138 such agreements,” he said.
He said that all agreements with Sri Lanka are not one sided and also cover investments by Sri Lankan companies abroad – which amount to a total stock of over 600 million US dollars. (Colombo Gazette)