The Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 10th Annual General Meeting on July 7, 2021 virtually. Her Excellency, Ho Thi Thanh Truc, Ambassador of Vietnam in Sri Lanka, graced the event as the Chief Guest.
Ranil Seneviratne, President of the Council, stated that the period under review was very challenging with the onset of the COVID pandemic. Despite all challenges, the Council was able to organize two webinars for the benefit of its members as well as to other organisations interested in Trade and Investment in the Greater Mekong region.
The Greater Mekong Business Council in association with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, organised a Webinar on ‘Export Oriented Investments, Opportunities, Benefits and Investment Process in Vietnam’ on April 28, 2021.
Thereafter a webinar on ‘Thailand and Vietnam – Current Economy, Business Environment and Opportunities for Joint Collaborations’ was held on June 10, 2021.
Both these webinars were organised in joint collaboration with the respective Embassies based in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions in Vietnam and Thailand.
During the year, the Executive Committee made courtesy calls to Ambassadors of Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar in Sri Lanka and during these visits the Council discussed many issues related to procedures on Visas and Trade barriers due to Import restrictions.
The Committee enlightened the Ambassadors on Investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and requested technical assistance for identified product sectors. In addition, views were exchanged on the benefit of present Free Trade agreements.
While congratulating the newly appointed Committee, Her Excellency Ho Thi Thanh Truc,, Ambassador of Vietnam in Sri Lanka informed that Vietnam is now entering a new stage of development with a goal and vision to become a middle-income country with modern industries by 2030, and to become a developed, high-income country by 2045.
It was also stated that Sri Lanka has one of the busiest maritime routes that has attracted the attention of the world’s big powers due to its strategic location in the region and that Sri Lanka’s Government supports private sector empowerment and a public-private partnership model for mutual development.
Besides, Colombo’s new port city will be a financial center of South Asia and a major attraction for investors in the near future.
It was further highlighted that the two countries have signed many bilateral agreements and MoUs on co-operation in different fields. The two countries have signed bilateral and multilateral new generation free trade agreements with many major economies to expand and diversify markets and significant participation in regional and global supply chain. Thus it is inevitable that the two countries have a strong trade and economic cooperation.
- M. D. Suriyakumara, Chief Executive Officer of Maliban Biscuits Manufactories (Pvt) Ltd. was elected as the President of the Council while Mahen Weerasekera, Chairman, Capitol Developers Ltd.; Kamal Boyagama, Director, MAC Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; and Randeewa Malalasooriya, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. elected as Vice Presidents.
The Committee appointed will be represented by Astron Ltd., Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd., Hayleys Agriculture Holdings Ltd., Lanka Hospitals PLC and Rhino Roofing Ltd.
Ranil Seneviratne, Director, Ranfer International (Pvt) Ltd. will serve as the immediate Past President for the period 2021 – 2022.