The Sri Lanka – Russia Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 18th Annual General Meeting as a virtual event recently. Alexey Budanov, Charge d’affaires from the Embassy of Russia graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
The newly elected President of the Sri Lanka – Russia Business Council (SLRBC) Kolitha Wickramasinghe assured even though that most businesses are facing challenges due to the unfortunate circumstances experiencing globally time is opportune for businesses to look for avenues of opportunities keeping in line with our objectives of the SLRBC.
Wikramasinghe further highlighted the potential products such as Tea, sea food, fruits and vegetables, coco peat and services will be promoted in collaborations with the Commerce in Russia. He further emphasized the importance of participating at internationally recognized trade fairs such as Prodexpo which is scheduled to be held in February 2022 in Moscow.
The Chief Guest, Alexey Budanov, Charge d’affaires stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted many aspects of bilateral relations, however, despite these challenges Sri Lanka and Russia were able to maintain a positive trend in bilateral trade. Russia traditionally continues to be one of the largest consumers of Ceylon tea, firmly remaining in the top three countries of its purchasers.
The import from Sri Lanka also comprises spices, apparel and rubber and highlighted that the first consignments of dehydrated fruits have been shipped to Russia recently from Sri Lanka.
Mr. Bunanov also said, “In an effort to restart the tourist exchange the Russian Government had decided to resume flights with Sri Lanka from 01st April 2021. Sri Lankan Airlines started direct flights to Moscow from July 30 and Aeroflot has announced its plans to resume its flights to Colombo from November. We hope that by the beginning of the high season in Sri Lanka passenger flows will further increase. Direct flights create opportunities for Sri Lankan business to diversify exports to Russia, for example by supplying short-lived commodities, including the much-needed in Russia fish and seafood products”.
Kolitha Wickremasinhge, Managing Director, Salota International (Pvt) Ltd. was elected as the President of the Council, while Niral Kadawatharatchie, Chief Executive Officer, Freight Links International (Pvt) Ltd and Isuru Samarasinghe, Managing Director, Uni Traders (Pvt) Ltd were elected as the Vice Presidents.
Hiran Karunaratne, Director, Regency Teas (Pvt) Ltd was appointed as the Treasure to the Council and Buddhika Liyanage, Director, Avian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd will serve as the Immediate Past President.
The committee elected for the period 2021-2022 will be represented by CBL Natural Foods, Kaushalya Tea Export Company, MAC Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, MOS Lanka Investments, Maltras International (Pvt) Ltd, Natures Beauty Creations Lanka Ltd, Orifini Jewellers, Rahino Roofing Products Ltd and Walkers Tours Ltd.