Officials during the UAE Sri Lanka Forum in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Business Bureau, Gulf Today
The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) organised on Tuesday the UAE Sri Lanka Forum to promote investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka and share economic and trade-related ideas and views between the two sides.
Held at the SCCI’s headquarters, the event was held as part of the chamber strategy aiming strengthen economic cooperation with promising countries and boost relationships between business communities.
The event forum was attended by Abdallah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman Biography, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nalin Bandara, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Sri Lanka, Mohammed Bin Dimas, SCCI Board Member, Mohammed Ameen Al-Awadhi, Director-General of the chamber, and Charitha Yattogoda, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai & Northern Emirates.
Also present were Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Mohammed Juma Al Mashrekh, Executive Director of Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Office (“Invest in Sharjah”) and Abdulaziz Shattaf, Assistant Director-General for Members Services at the SCCI, as well as other executive directors, representatives from Sharjah free zones and local, economic and tourism bodies and departments along with Sri Lankan representatives.
The forum discussed areas of cooperation in trade, investment and tourism, and highlighted the investment opportunities available in both countries. It also shed light on prospects of cooperation and bilateral partnerships in various economic sectors, and gave an opportunity for participants to discuss ways of enhancing trade cooperation.
In his welcome note, Mohammed Bin Dimas stressed that the UAE Sri Lanka Forum is a perfect platform to enhance the investment ties between Sharjah and Sri Lanka, in line with the SCCI’s strategy.
“Through the forum, the chamber seeks to facilitate business prosperity and strengthen its capabilities by coordinating with government authorities in Sri Lanka, adopting the best economic and developmental practices, increasing the volume of trade and activating the flow of investments” bin Dimas said.
He emphasized that such a huge presence of companies and businessmen reflects the depth of the historical relations between the UAE and of Sri Lanka, in addition to the two parties’ keenness to push their relations to a wider horizon.
Bin Dimas underlined that the existing positive relations and the growing strategic partnership between the UAE and Sri Lanka has been made even stronger and deeper by the efforts made by Sharjah. “Sharjah has always been keen to improving and enhancing these relations at various levels and taking them into new heights so as to serve the common interests of both countries”. He added that Sri Lanka has become a magnet for Gulf tourists particularly the Emiratis, noting that there are now more than 200 companies operating in Sharjah across various sectors. He revealed that the exports and re-exports volume according to certificates of origin issued by the chamber has recorded Dhs40 million, which is a clear indication of the potential and resources available to the two countries.
Promising Future For his part, Nalin Bandara lauded Sharjah’s milestones especially the economic one, which made it a leading model, expressing his country’s desire to build on the UAE-Sri Lankan relations and bring about their common goals.
He also hailed the SCCI for organizing the UAE Sri Lanka Forum, which has brought together an elite group of bodies concerned with developing bilateral economic cooperation and described the forum as a springboard towards a promising future of business partnerships.
He expressed his happiness at Sri Lanka’s participation in Expo 2020, stressing that his country has a long history of trade with the UAE. The UAE is among the top 10 countries in terms of the volume of trade with Sri Lanka especially in the real estate and infrastructure sector, and the annual tours from the UAE to Sri Lanka has exceeded 8500.
Bandara noted that the emirate of Sharjah is an ideal economic partner for the Sri Lankan business community, which could help further strengthen trade and investment ties.
Mohammed Ameen Al-Awadhi, Director-General of the chamber, said: “Through the forum, the SCCI seeks to highlight the importance of joint work and direct communication between the UAE and Sri Lankan business community and to discuss possible ways of establishing new partnerships and investments to serve the common goals of both sides.
Al-Awadhi stressed that Sri Lanka has many investment advantages especially in agriculture, non-metallic mineral industries and manufacturing industries. He also called on Sri Lankan investors to take advantage of Sharjah’s competitive advantages, incentives and its strategic geographic location as well as the investment opportunities available in education, culture, trade, logistics, tourism and industry, thanks to the business-friendly legislative environment and facilities provided to the private sector, which made investment in Sharjah a profitable and successful option. The event included bilateral meetings that touched on partnerships, cooperation and coordination and discussed existing investment opportunities.
On the sideline of the forum, Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (SAIF ZONE) highlighted the advantages of investing at SAIF ZONE, thanks to its state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and strategic location. The SAIF ZONE reaffirmed it provides investors with an environment conducive to business growth, in addition to a range of services and competitive advantages that facilitate investor’s businesses and help them grow and expand.