Jan 27, 2017

India ascends in North

Sri Lanka promptly responded with a ready welcome to India’s largest business chamber ASSOCHAM as the Chamber ambitiously announced its entry to the country on 27 January. ASSOCHAM’s laser focus on Sri Lanka is such that it is even ready to acquire closed businesses in the country and revive. Meanwhile, the on-going JITF series of Northern Provincial exhibitions of Lankan products that began way back in 2010 in small scale has now grown to be a national level expo -with increasing international participation.

“Sri Lanka warmly welcomes India’s oldest, leading, largest and apex Chamber, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) to Sri Lanka said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 27 January in Jaffna. Minster Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration of 8th Jaffna International Trade Exhibition, JITF 2017 at Jaffna library auditorium on 27 January joined by Consul General of India in Jaffna Shri. A. Natarajan, President of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam K. Vignesh, Founder Chairman of Jaffna International Trade Fair Kosala Wickramanayake, and Chairman- Exhibition Council of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Vinay R Sharma who is leading the 75 member strong Indian delegation.

“The provincial GDP of Northern Province is the smallest among all provincial GDPs in Sri Lanka. In 2015 Northern Province GDP was US $ 2.6 billion only. It is a mere 3.5% of Sri Lanka’s total GDP. The biggest GDP province, the Western Province showed a total of US $ 31 billion” said Minister Bathiudeen. Northern Province has been a fast growing province among all provinces. For example in 2011-2012 Northern Province GDP growth was a huge 26%. In 2012-2013 it was 12.1%. In the latest 2014-2015 data the highest provincial GDP growth reported equally by two provinces. These growth numbers are reported in the northern-province despite some critical issues that the Province is facing such as the lack of industrial and other infrastructure, human resources and skills base, economic and business information, and private sector unwilling to get involved in the Province. .”

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Vinay R Sharma addressing the event stressed the entry of his Chamber to Sri Lanka in a pioneering initiative. “This is the first time ASSOCHAM is entering Sri Lanka in this way and we are here to partner with Sri Lankan businesses in joint ventures, partnerships and even new business openings in many sectors including automotives and textiles” said Sharma.

Total trade between India and Sri Lanka was at almost $ 5 Bn (at $4.91 billion) in Y2015 (by end-June 2016 totalled $2.05 Bn). In 1991 it was only a small $56 Mn. India also became the largest supplier to Sri Lanka in 2015--22.5% of Sri Lanka’s imports in 2015 were from India (China second at 19.7% and EU next, at 9.5%).

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