Thursday, August 2, 2012

First India - Sri Lanka CEOs Forum Meeting to be held in Colombo on August 4
The first meeting of the India-Sri Lanka CEOs Forum, constituted by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Honourable President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will take place on August 4, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Forum, which has been set up to develop a roadmap for increased cooperation and mutually beneficial economic partnership between the two countries, will deliberate ways and means to enhance trade and investments between the two nations. The Indian Prime Minister has appointed Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Airtel Ltd. to be the Co-Chair from the Indian side while Mr. Kulathunga Rajpaksa, Executive Director, Samson International Ltd has been appointed to Co-Chair from Sri Lanka.

A number of other top business leaders representing a cross section of industry from India and Sri Lanka will participate in the CEOs Forum. The Forum will also interact with Shri Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles, Government of India and his counterpart, Honourable Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce of Sri Lanka.

The bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka trade was USD 4 billion in 2010-11 and has the potential to double to USD 8 billion within the next three years. It is worth noting that Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia while India, in turn, is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner globally. The trade between the two countries grew rapidly particularly after the India-Sri Lanka FTA came into force in March 2000. Between 2000-2008, the bilateral trade multiplied nearly five-fold.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry expressed his optimism and said, “Following the signing of the FTA between India and Sri Lanka, we have seen both countries benefit with trade and investment flows going up over time. It is important that India and Sri Lanka now focus on new horizons and work together to sign a comprehensive economic partnership agreement”.

The Indian investments in Sri Lanka have been on the rise. Today, total cumulative investments stand around USD 600 million. The key sectors include telecom, healthcare, real estate, IT, hospitality and tourism. On the other hand, the investments from Sri Lanka into India are focused in sectors such as textiles, food processing and logistics.

It is anticipated that the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) under discussion between the two countries can be a significant catalyst to economic engagement. The proposed agreement covers four areas: trade in goods; trade in services; economic cooperation (in areas such as fisheries, energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, financial, infrastructure and tourism) and investment issues.

The other participants attending the CEOs Forum meeting from India include: Mr. Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman, NTPC Ltd; Mr. Atul Punj, Chairman, Punj Lloyd Group; Mr. Hari S Bhartia, Co-Chairman & Managing Director, Jubilant Life Sciences; Mr. Hemant Contractor, Managing Director & Group Executive (International Banking), State Bank of India; Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director, Bharat Hotels Limited; Mr. Subodh Dakwale, Managing Director, Lanka IOC PLC; Mr. Tulsi Tanti, Chairman & Managing Director, Suzlon Energy Ltd.; Mr. Veervijay Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Vivanta by Taj – Hotels and Resorts, Taj Group of Hotels; Mr. Venu Srinivasan, Chairman & Managing Director, TVS Motor Company and Mr. Vinod K Desari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Limited.

From Sri Lanka, the participants include Mr. A. Hettigoda, Managing Director, Hettigoda Group of Companies; Mr. Ashroff Omar, CEO, Brandix Lanka; Mr. B R L Fernando, Chairman, CIC Holdings PLC; Mr. K Dharmasiri, General Manager, Bank of Ceylon; Mr. Kapila Chandrasena, Chief Executive Officer, Sri Lankan Airlines & Mihin Air; Mr. M.P. Wickremasinghe, Chairman, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd; Mr. Mano Selvanathan, Group Director, Carson Cumberbatch PLC; Ms. Ramya Weerakoon, Chairperson, Ramya Holdings; Mr. S. Kumarasinghe, Chairman, Nature’s Beauty Creations; Mr. Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, John Keells Holdings PLC; Mr. Tilak de Zoysa, Chairman, Associated Motorways and Mr. W. K. H. Wegapitiya, Group Chairman, Laugfs Holdings Ltd.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has been assigned to hold the secretariat of the Forum in India, while the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce would be the secretariat for the Sri Lankan side. 

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