SRI LANKA’S U.S. EMBASSY SPEARHEADS CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR MEETING WITH U.S. BUSINESS LEADERS
“We are open for business, we have investments from all parts of the globe and we welcome them.” -- Gov. Cabraal
Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal addresses US Business Leaders. Also in the pictures Sri Lankan Ambassador to US Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Governor Cabraal on Bloomberg TV
Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, met with representatives of Coca Cola, Marriott Hotels and U.S. Chamber of Commerce members here Wednesday to expand foreign investment in Sri Lanka.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
During a series of May 12 meetings arranged by Sri Lankan embassy, Gov. Cabraal discussed the sustained economic stability that Sri Lanka has experienced since its conflict against terrorism ended a year ago.
Gov. Cabraal noted that tourism and shares on Colombo’s stock exchange have both advanced dramatically in the past year.
“We are open for business,” Gov. Cabraal said. “We have investments from all parts of the globe and we welcome them.”
The business meetings were arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya has been active in the promotion of foreign investment by U.S. businesses in Sri Lanka.
Gov. Cabraal's two-day Washington, D.C., visit also included meetings arranged by the embassy with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives, the U.S. Agency for International Development and with several congressmen, as well as press interviews with Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal.
“We have shown that we have a lasting peace and a stable political environment and therefore a good environment for investment,” the Ambassador said. “We have many infrastructure projects underway, especially in the North.”
Besides private meetings with international development executives from Coca Cola and Marriott hotels, Ambassador Wickramasuriya and Gov. Cabraal took part in a Chamber of Commerce meeting that included representatives of Boeing, Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc., Transinnova, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and several financial consulting firms.
With those executives he discussed Sri Lanka’s efforts to reconcile the Northern Province after years of conflict.
Gov. Cabraal also answered a number of questions on the advantages of foreign investment in Sri Lanka, noting the island nation’s GDP growth rate of more than six percent for 2010.
“That is a quite good growth rate,” the governor said. “We have focused on growth in our economy throughout the conflict and we are sustaining it now.”
Gov. Cabraal and Ambassador Wickramasuriya discussed developments in a variety of business sectors, including tourism, transportation, energy and agriculture.
“We can guarantee uninterrupted electrical service,” Gov. Cabraal told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting. “We are intent on providing electricity to all of the country for the first time ever.” A number of business people inquired about opportunities in Sri Lanka and the possibility of partnerships with Sri Lankan investors and companies.
Gov. Cabraal noted that while China has invested enthusiastically in Sri Lanka port and power projects, U.S. investment funds have committed even more money to Sri Lankan bonds.
“This is not well known,” Gov. Cabraal said. “And it needs to come out. These sharp hedge-fund managers are investing heavily in Sri Lanka’s future. That has not gotten enough attention.”