The Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 11th Annual General Meeting recently at the Hilton Residences, Colombo 02. Her Excellency, Ho Thi Thanh Truc, Ambassador of Vietnam, Mr. Arthit Prasartkul, Minister Counselor of Royal Thai Embassy in Sri Lanka graced the event as the Chief Guests.
S.M.D. Suriyakumara, President of the Council gave his speech stating that “We are facing an economic crisis in Sri Lanka resulting shortage of basic requirements like food, medicine, gas etc. We are experiencing this for the first time even though there are many countries that have experienced a similar economic crisis in the past and overcame those situations. As Sri Lankans, we have gone through hard times but we are quite capable of overcoming them. We should make this an opportunity as citizens and as a whole nation to overcome this crisis. Many Sri Lankans are getting used to changing their lifestyle and finding new ways of living and earning. As a council, if we can bring contributions through investments, and opportunities encouraging tourism, that is what as a Council we can do at this moment since it is what the country needs. We have imported & exported 7.5m USD & 2.3m USD worth of goods from Myanmar respectively. Also, we have imported & exported 397m USD and 51.6m USD worth of goods from Thailand. Furthermore, we have exported & imported goods worth of 397m USD & 62.88m USD from Vietnam. According to the figures, from Cambodia, we have imported 2.84m USD & exported 3.14m USD worth of goods. From Laos, we have imported 1.43m USD & exported 0.14m USD worth of goods. We must try to narrow down that gap in exports and imports. That’s what the solution we can contribute as a Council”
During the year, the Executive Committee made a courtesy call to visit the newly appointed Her Excellency Ho Thi Thanh Truc, Ambassador of Vietnam and made a visit to meet the Ambassador Designated of Thailand to Sri Lanka in April & October 2021 respectively. During these visits the Council discussed many issues related to procedures pertaining to the trade and visa matters.
While congratulating the newly appointed Committee, Her Excellency Ho Thi Thanh Truc, Ambassador of Vietnam in Sri Lanka began her speech stating these remarks. “I am confident that your valuable contribution will help this Council and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce achieve their future goals in the coming years. I would also like to thank the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to share some information with you about the opportunities for our two countries to collaborate further in terms of trade and investment. Speaking about Vietnam, the implementation of the Doi Moi economic reform in 1986 was a critical factor in propelling the country onto a remarkable development path. Today, Vietnam’s economy is a vibrant and dynamic one in the Asia-Pacific region, creating favorable conditions for both domestic and international businesses to thrive. Vietnam has numerous renewable energy potentials, including wind power, solar power and thermal power. With the traditional Agri sector, the country has great potential of bio-mass sources for heating and electric power generation. In terms of trade and investment, Vietnam and Sri Lanka have many similarities that create a favorable environment for business people of both countries. Because of our strategic locations in each region, both countries have attracted the attention of the world’s major powers. Both governments, on the other hand, advocate for private sector empowerment and a public-private partnership model for mutual development. Sri Lanka has also signed bilateral investment treaties with 28 countries and double taxation treaties with 38 countries, including Vietnam”.
Her Excellency, ended her remarks by stating “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Sri Lanka Greater Mekong Business Council and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for their outstanding assistance in assisting local businesses to compete in domestic and international markets. Over the years, fruitful events organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Embassy of Vietnam provided both Sri Lankan and Vietnamese businessmen with promising business opportunities for foreign investments and aided in the development of favorable business links between our two countries.”
Mr. Arthit Prasartkul, Minister Counselor of Royal Thai Embassy mentioned that he commends the activities done by the Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council during the past year and invite the audience to take note of the event in which His Excellency Poj Harnpol, the Ambassador of Thailand, gave a keynote address on Investment and Trade Opportunities in Thailand in March 2022. He also shared challenges faced by Thai businesses and their Sri Lanka counterparts in Sri Lanka.
S.M.D. Suriyakumara, Chief Executive Officer of Maliban Bio Ventures (Pvt) Ltd was elected as the President of the Council while Nimal Ratnayake, Group Chief Marketing Officer of Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC, Sirimal Fernando, Chief Executive Officer of Astron Ltd and Jude Fernando, Director of Rhino Roofing Products Ltd elected as Vice Presidents. Ranil Seneviratne, Director, Ranfer Teas (Pvt) Ltd will serve as the Immediate Past President for the period 2022 – 2023.
The Committee appointed will be represented by the MAC Holdings Pvt Ltd, Advantis Projects and Engineering Pvt Ltd, Aitken Spence Travels Pvt Ltd, Spillburg Holdings Pvt Ltd and Capitol Developers Ltd.