Background: The seminar was jointly conducted by Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) and Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and industry (FKCCI) with support from Board of Investment (BoI), Sri Lanka and Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka, Chennai. The seminar was conducted during the visit of investment promotion delegation from Sri Lanka. The principal objective of this seminar was to create awareness on the investment opportunities, in identified sectors, in Sri Lanka.
Faculty: Mr. Arjunna Mahendran, Chairman and Director General, Board of Investment, Sri Lanka, Mr. B S Patil, Industries Secretary, Government of Karnataka, Mr. Sumit Nakandala, Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai, Mr. D G Prasad, General Manager, Exim Bank, Bangalore and Mr. C. Ignatius, Senior Manager, BoI, Sri Lanka were the speakers for the seminar.
Target Sectors: The seminar targeted sectors like IT, infrastructure, garments, textiles, construction, auto parts, engineering goods, electronic and electrical equipments, machinery and fabrication, chemicals & pharmaceuticals, food processing etc.
Summary of Proceedings: Mr. Arjunna Mahendran, in his presentation explained the logical location of Sri Lanka for manufacturing and service organisations that wish to establish a presence in the South Asian region. Mr. Mahendran's presentation highlighted the ideal location of Sri Lanka in assessing the vast potential markets like India and far-east countries. In addition, Mr. Mahendran said, the trade barriers in SAARC region are falling with the progress of negotiations in South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
It was further said that companies investing in Sri Lanka would be exempt from taxation, customs and exchange control laws. The Government of Sri Lanka is offering a three-year tax holiday for companies investing in manufacturing, software development, IT and allied sectors, Mr. Mahendran said. It was further informed that Sri Lanka has huge investment potential in the areas of power and energy, ports, Information Technology, water supply, ship building and repairing, oil storage, mineral processing and transportation.
As regards the IT sectors, Mr. Mahendran said that the principal areas identified for promotion of investment are the areas of software development, e-commerce, IT training and IT infrastructure. Several Sri Lankan companies have achieved international recognition in the IT sector, Mr. Mahendran said. Besides, Sri Lanka is expanding its pool of skilled graduates in IT and related application areas.
In his address on 'Opportunities in Karnataka', Mr. B S Patil highlighted the strengths of Karnataka in different sectors of the economy. The state has a big investment potential in the areas of information technology, tourism, services sector, jewelry exports and infrastructure development. Mr. Patil also mentioned the enormous potential, strong base and dynamism of Karnataka in moving ahead in the growth path.
Mr. D G Prasad, in his address mentioned about the products and services offered by Exim Bank. Mr. Prasad also took the reference of recent Exim Bank's Occasional paper on 'Sri Lanka: A Study of India's Trade and Investment Potential'. The study highlighted Sri Lanka as one of the important destinations in the South Asian region, encouraging private participation in economic development. It was informed that there are potentials for investment in tea, rubber, coconut, horticulture, marine products in the primary sector. As regards the manufacturing sector, the potential areas of cooperation are textiles, ceramics, gems and jewelry and electronics. Besides, India's potentials in software development and IT Enabled Sector segments could be well utilised by Sri Lankan companies, Mr. Prasad said.
In the afternoon, Indian companies had one to one business meetings with the Sri Lankan delegation for mutual co-operation.