To assist German investors in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka – Germany Fast Track Dialogue, with the objective of addressing central issues faced by German Enterprises operating in Sri Lanka under the BOI as well as to facilitate new investments; took place recently at the premises of the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade.
Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama led the Sri Lankan delegation, assisted by Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Chair Mangala Yapa, and Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Additional Secretary W A D S Gunasinghe.
Also present were members of key Sri Lankan institutions whose inputs were essential to ensure a rapid resolution of the matters discussed.
German Ambassador in Sri Lanka Jörn Rohde led the German delegation, assisted by Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK) Chief Delegate Andreas Hergenröther. Companies B Braun Lanka Pvt Ltd., DHL, Keells Pvt Ltd, Eskimo Fashion Knitwear (Private) Ltd., Go Vacation Sri Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., (Den Touristk), Hellmann MAS Supply Chain (Private) Limited, Kramsli Lanka (Pvt) Limited, Ceylon Oxygen Limited and Würth Lanka participated in the dialogue.
Minister Malik Samarawickrama welcomed the German delegation. He stated that Germany was a very important trading partner for Sri Lanka, with a volume of trade totalling EUR 1.2 billion. The Minister added that there had been an important trade and investment delegation to Germany in 2018, but that recent events had impacted on the progress made in taking economic relations even further.
Minister Samarawickrama commended Germany for establishing a culture of punctuality, precision and high standards of integrity. He added that, on the Sri Lankan side, institutions such as BOI and EDB were making a strong effort to facilitate business and eliminate bottle-necks faced by investors and exporters.
Ambassador Jörn Rohde stated that economic relations should ideally resemble the German autobahns, providing speedy solutions to all issues. Germany welcomed any effort aimed at improving Sri Lankan’s business climate and also the resolution of any issues faced by German SMEs.
He wanted to see a return to the level of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, which had declined since the Easter Sunday events.
Minister Samarawickrama reassured the German side, adding that security had been strengthened at the airport and hotels. Furthermore, a tourism promotion campaign will be held in Berlin to address tourists and travel agents and educate them about Sri Lanka. A total of eight leading tourism-generating countries were targeted for a recovery plan. Four tourism road shows will be held in Berlin, Stuttgart and other German cities.
The issues specific to German investors to which solutions were being sought include the registration of disinfectant products under the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA), VAT refunds for several German Companies, issues relating to the recovery of the tourism industry, issues relating to Cargo handling, monies owed to German Companies, tender procedures and payment of demurrages.
Many of these outstanding matters were resolved, or studied with a view to solution, within a specified timeframe.
Dilip S Samarasingha
Director(Media & Publicity)
Board of Investment of sri lanka