Sri Lanka-Bulgaria Business Forum Marks a Significant Step in Intensifying Bilateral Economic Cooper
A Sri Lanka-Bulgaria Business Forum was organised by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo. The Forum was organised on the occasion of the visit of the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to Sri Lanka accompanied by a delegation of leading businessmen.
The Bulgarian delegation to the Business Forum was led by the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Traicho Traikov, and included, among others, the President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tsvetan Simeonov; the Economic Secretary to the President of Bulgaria Ertan Kara and the Deputy Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Evgeni Angelov. The members of the visiting business delegation comprised those involved in a range of industries including construction, electronics, steel and ferrous metals, mining, industrial products, renewable energy, paint, the travel trade, agriculture; and real estate and infrastructure projects.
The Sri Lanka Government was represented at the Business Forum by the Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris; Chairman, Board of Investment Dhammika Perera, and Chairman, Export Development Board Anil Koswatte. The Forum was attended by members of the leading Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka including the FCCISL led by its President Kosala Wickramanayake; the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce; the National Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber of Construction Industry; and the travel trade.
The Business Forum included One-on-One Business Meetings among the Sri Lankan and Bulgarian participants.
The signing of a Cooperation Agreement between the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the FCCISL during the Forum marked a significant step in intensifying interaction and cooperation among the two Chambers as well as among the business communities of the two countries.
Bulgaria has not been a regular or a significant trading partner of Sri Lanka. However, the total trade turnover between the two countries which was US$ 5.19 million in 2007, saw an 82 percent increase in 2008 to US$ 9.45 million. Sri Lanka’s main exports to Bulgaria comprise tea; margarine; edible mixtures or preparations of meat and vegetable products; retreaded or used tyres; coconut, abaca; and knitted or crocheted fabrics. Tea accounted for 27% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to Bulgaria in 2008.
There remains much potential for an increase in trade and investment between the two countries, including the diversification of Sri Lanka’s export basket to Bulgaria. It is envisaged that the Sri Lanka-Bulgaria Business Forum will mark a first step in this direction via intensified interaction between the private sectors of the two countries.
The Business Forum also received the support of the Board of Investment, the Export Development Board, the Tourism Promotion Bureau of Sri Lanka, and the Bulgarian Embassy in New Delhi.