On April 5, 2021, Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG met with the Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council members at the Embassy to discuss on expanding business opportunities in the Small and Medium Enterpises (SME) sector between Korea and Sri Lanka.
They had a fruitful exchange regarding multiple spheres including promotion of trade relations, agriculture, export development and expansion of Information Technology (IT) sector.
Ambassador Santhush emphasised the importance of boosting trade between Korea and Sri Lanka. He stated, “The volume of exports from Sri Lanka to Korea increased from USD 100 million in 2019 to USD 110 million 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world. This is indeed a favourable outcome to Sri Lanka. However the trade volume between the two countries is not satisfactory and more should be done to improve our trade relations. It is the right time for Korean companies to invest in Sri Lanka”.
At this juncture, a constructive dialogue between Korean investors and the Business Council is vital to facilitate trade and explore potential business opportunities in Sri Lanka. The Ambassador expressed his interest to assist all parties to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprise sector and exports promotion.
The Ambassador was also pleased to announce that the Korean language will be officially adopted as a foreign language for advanced level curriculum by the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka from 2021. It will be a leap forward to elevate our bilateral relations.
The members of the Sri Lanka- Korea Business Council appreciated the efforts of the Ambassador to assist the Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council in all their endeavours. They stated that the introduction of Korean language as a subject for the advanced level curriculum will benefit the youth in Sri Lanka when exploring more job opportunities abroad.
Currently there are more than 25,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers employed in Korea. Korea is a relatively good country for Sri Lankans to work in as there are better conditions for employment such as ‘equal work equal pay’ policy adopted by the Korean government.
The Council members including the Incumbent President, Priyantha Mendis and the Former President, Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala further discussed ways to provide entrepreneurial skills to low income households and develop the agricultural sector by organising virtual workshops to share their technical expertise in mass production from Korea.
They also requested assistance in skill development and vocational training as it would be beneficial for export diversification, improvement of quality and expansion of the Information Technology and improve our labour cooperation.
Furthermore they also discussed ways to improve tourism and hospitality fields in Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador also commended the anti-COVID task force in Sri Lanka for their dedication in managing the pandemic well. He mentioned that Sri Lanka has a promising future given the huge opportunities offered by the rising Sri Lankan economy. The scope for beneficial collaboration between Korea and Sri Lanka is infinite. South Korea is a true and reliable friend of Sri Lanka, and will continue to stand by Sri Lankans in their journey to achieve national development goals.
Along with the Incumbent President – Priyantha Mendis, Former President of the Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council – Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala and Vice President – John Shiran Dissanayake, Mahen Kariyawasan, K. Kunendran, Asitha Martis, Godwin Perera and Ms. Dinithi Dias comprised the delegation of the Sri Lanka-Korea Business Council.
The First Secretary, Ms. Lim Miyeon and the Research and Public Relations Officer, Ms. Charya Gamalath were present from the Korean Embassy.