Federation of Chambers of
Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka

Andra Pradesh offers expertise on SME, agriculture and infrastructure

Andra Pradesh has offered to share its experiences and expertise with Sri Lanka in spheres ranging from Agriculture to Small and Medium Scale Industries and infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and telecommunications, the leader of a visiting Trade Chamber delegation said in Colombo Monday (8).

“There are a large number of areas that Andra Pradesh can get involved in Sri Lanka now that durable peace has dawned on Sri Lanka in these fields,” President of the Federation of Andra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Leader of the 21- Member delegation K. Harischandra Prasad told a joint meeting with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at the Federation auditorium.

He said that there were a large number of possibilities that his Chamber could assist such as the provision of transfer of technology in agriculture and Small and Medium Scale industries which, he described as thrust areas while also assisting Sri Lanka in the building of roads, bridges, railways and airports. Andra Pradesh is one of the pioneers in the development of hybrid seeds and we have much expertise to offer Sri Lanka and now we can see your country opening up for development with the pro-active stance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said.

Continuing, he said: “Both India and Sri Lanka can play a vital role in the development of Asia. I hope that the deliberations today will create greater awareness of the new potential opportunities which exist between our two great nations and I hope that the business communities of both countries would enable them to grasp new opportunities for the Indo- Lanka cooperation to realize its full potential. FAPCCI will be delighted to partner with Sri Lanka to develop itself while helping to develop Sri Lanka through mutual cooperation”

He also noted that one- sixth of the total development credit granted by the Government of India was available for Sri Lanka for capital goods, consumer durables consultancy services and petroleum products.

He said that the State of Andra Pradesh was the fifth largest economy in India and the second largest in South India and perhaps the fastest growing economy in India at around 10.5% per annum. It is also the second largest store houses of mineral resources and the first in granite reserves in that country.

FAPCCI’s Chairman of the International Trade Relations CommitteeSrinivas Ayyadevara said that Sri Lanka’s rapid economic development will be best served by strengthening and managing bilateral economic relations with India due to India being one of the fastest growing economies in the Asian region and with a market potential second only to China and with the ability to maintain the growth momentum in the phase of the global economic crisis.One of the other reasons which should augur well is that India has maintained that it had the potential to maintain the growth momentum in the face of the current global crisis.

He also said that Sri Lanka’s economic relations with India should be strengthened within a rule based liberalized trade regime which can provide a policy environment conducive for strengthened economic relations with clearly defined rules. This should avoid the frictions of ad-hoc problem solving, he said.

It was also observed that in the wake of India negotiating much larger bilateral agreements with Japan and the European Union, it would be unwise to delay or reopen the already negotiated CEPA. He also urged that a commitment should be given to set up a time bound mechanism to examine and resolve any problems good exporters would have experienced in the first few years of the Indo- Lanka Free Trade Agreement.

FCCISL President Kosala Wickremanayake, in his brief opening remarks, said that the FCCISL welcomed the arrival of the FAPCCI delegates which were a large number and said that it was timely as the Sri Lankan economy was opening up. This is the time that the Sri Lankan economy was opening up after 30 years of war during which time we were not doing too well and now is the time for investors to make use of the conditions available here.

He also implored the Indian investors to exploit the concessions in the Indo- Lanka FTA to manufacture goods in Sri Lanka with the view of exporting to Pakistan.

Ernst and Young Partners Arjuna Herath and Duminda Hulangamuwa made presentations and overviews on the economic and investment and tax climates in Sri Lanka.

There was interest evinced among Indian investors about what product ranges could be manufactured and whether they could have access to industrial zones. They were told by FCCISL President Kosala Wickremanayake and Vice President Tissa Jayaweera that over 70% of the export industries were in the Western Province and within 60 kilometres from Colombo.

On questions of labour and trade unions, they were told by that Sri Lanka was empowered with an educated labour force and that the Labour Ministry settled disputes expeditiously. They were also told that land for industrial investments were also available on long term leases at around US$ 50,000 per acre.

Hyderabad, the capital city of Andra Pradesh, is home to major industries such as drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, electronic components, electrical machinery heavy engineering, Information Technology and IT enables services to mention a few.

The FAPCCI established in 1917, is the apex state body of industry commerce of Andra Pradesh with over 3100 members directly registered with it and serves the interests of 20,000 members through its 170 affiliated chambers and associations.