A delegation led by Mr. Nalin Bandara, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies & International Trade comprising officials from both the public and private sector visited United Arab Emirates (UAE) and met several important trade partners in the UAE. The delegation had very fruitful discussions with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry as well as Al-Maya Group and the Lulu Supermarket International.
Sri Lankan delegation included Mrs. Indira Malwatte, Chairperson & Chief Executive of Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Mr. Charitha Yattogoda, Sri Lanka Consul General in Dubai. The delegation also comprised of other Government Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Export Development Board, Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, and key private sector partners represent by Secretary General of National Chamber of Exporters and Secretary General of National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the immediate past president of Sri Lanka Exporter’s Association.
At the Business Forum organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry both sides presented available trade, tourism and investment opportunities. Mr. Prasanjith Wijethilake, Executive Director of the Board of Investment made a presentation on the opportunities in Sri Lanka for trade, tourism and investment. Ideas were exchanged to create more partnerships on these spheres.
During the one on one consultations with the Chamber Management, Deputy Minister invited the Sharjah Chamber to visit Sri Lanka to explore trade and investment opportunities of mutual benefit and this was accepted by Mr. Abdalla Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Sri Lanka delegation also had cordial and fruitful meetings with Mr. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO and the senior members of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce where both sides agreed to look into more avenues to increase existing economic relationship between the two countries. Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Minister briefed the Dubai Chamber Officials on the arrangements made by Sri Lanka to attend the Expo 2020 Dubai and Sri Lanka delegation highlighted the opportunities available in the sectors such as Logistics, Tourism including Wellness Tourism, Boat Building, ICT and Knowledge services focused under the National Export Strategy.
Mr. Hamad Buamim the President & CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry commented on the importance of focusing on the traditional sectors such as the famous Ceylon Tea and ethically manufactured Apparel and extended their support for Sri Lanka during the Expo 2020 to organize an Investor Forum.
Sri Lanka delegation also visited the Lulu Group International Regional Office in Dubai to enhance Sri Lanka’s exports. The team from Lulu was headed by Mr. Shabu Abdul Majeed, the Director of Retail Operations at the Lulu corporate Headquarters. The delegate was appraised on their current operations in Sri Lanka where fresh produce was sourced and the FMCG identified from Sri Lanka for their supermarkets. Their target is to increase imports from Sri Lanka which amounted to USD 6 Mn in 2018 to USD 10 Mn in 2019 with the support of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.
Chairperson & Chief Executive of EDB proposed Lulu to look into the backward integration for selected fresh produce under “One Product – One Village Program” and briefed on the new product categories that could be introduced to their distribution channel.
The Lulu Group has organized an impressive in-store promotion to promote Sri Lankan products “Proudly from Sri Lanka” and extended support to promote Sri Lanka during the Expo 2020 Dubai.