Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the vision of Sri Lanka’s way forward is to develop the logistical hub between Singapore and Dubai in the Asian Waters.
“Sri Lanka is developing its economic strategy in line with its strategic location in the Asian Waters (Ocean). The vision of Sri Lanka’s way forward is to develop the logistical hub between Singapore and Dubai in the Asian Waters. Colombo port is one of the busiest ports in the world, can play an important role in this context. The newly established Hambantota Port will also join with the country’s economic and trade strategy and be a vital base of maritime transportation”, Deputy Minister said.
He said this during talks held in Viet Nam, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement today.
The Foreign Ministry said that the Vietnamese hailed the visit of Dr. Harsha de Silva especially noting that it is the first high level bilateral visit to Viet Nam since President Maithripala Sirisena assumed office on 8th January 2015.
The visit also coincided with the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) at which, the top leaders to lead the country for the next 05 years were elected. Further, the visit preceded an important period during which Viet Nam signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Free Trade Agreement with the EU, clearly giving a high leverage for the country over most other developing countries, opening doors to fast track its economy.
During the visit, the Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva called on his counterpart, Mr. Le Hoai Trung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Do Thang Hai, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade. Meanwhile, Mr. Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director General of Foreign Investment Agency, counterpart of the Sri Lanka Board of Investment, called on the Deputy Minister. The Deputy Minister also participated in an event organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Hanoi, to launch the Sri Lanka Business Council in Viet Nam where he addressed top investors, business leaders and professionals. The Deputy Minister also attended the opening ceremony of the Linea Aqua Viet Nam and interacted with the Sri Lankan community in Viet Nam.
The main focus of the discussion between Vice Minister Le Hoai Trung and the Deputy Minister was Viet Nam’s strategy on economic development, sectors for bilateral cooperation, with special emphasis on attracting investment to Sri Lanka.
During the bilateral meeting with the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Do Thang Hai, the focus was on improving bilateral trade in line with the agreement reached at the Sub Committee on Trade held in Colombo in March 2015, that highlighted the strategic location of Sri Lanka, as an important logistical hub for air connectivity and the promotion of tourism, trade and investment.
The Deputy Minister sharing his views emphasized that just as Sri Lanka welcomes businesses to invest in Sri Lanka, it also encourages Sri Lankan companies to take the comparative advantages that are offered elsewhere. Linea Aqua (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of the MAS Holdings of Sri Lanka, opened a factory just outside Hanoi city, where the Deputy Minister had participated in the inauguration. He welcomed Sri Lankan companies expanding their global footprint and establishing operations overseas.
He noted that currently, Sri Lankan investment in Viet Nam stood at US dollars 76.5 million with 14 projects, while Vietnamese investment in Sri Lanka was one project, yet to operationalize. More and more Vietnamese business ventures could explore the potentials of Sri Lanka’s business and market environment where Vietnamese could approach the huge and ever-growing South Asian market in the threshold of the process of creating knowledge based Social Market Economy built on social justice principles.
Moderating the Business Event, the Ambassador highlighted that Sri Lanka’s partnership with Vietnam is on the basis of mutual benefit and prosperity. She further emphasized the focus of the new Government’s Foreign Policy to engage all countries, with emphasis on economic diplomacy and the mandate of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to promote economic diplomacy.
At the Business Event, 11 professionals and leaders of the business community in Viet Nam were identified to serve in the Interim Committee of the Sri Lanka Business Council in Viet Nam. The participants appreciated the role of the Embassy in launching the timely initiative.
Those who attended the Business Event included, Deputy Director General of Foreign Investment Agency Mr. Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director General of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nguyen Dac Thanh, senior officials of Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, Petro Viet Nam, Viet Nam Engineering and Agricultural Machinery Corporation, senior officials of Associations representing tea, gem and jewelry, apparel industries, Secretary General of Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President of FPT Group, the 3rd largest private company in Viet Nam and other expat business community and professionals including CEOs of top banks.