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Srilanka Embassy host stall at Muscat Festival

MUSCAT There is ample opportunity to boost commercial ties between the Sultanate and Sri Lanka from the trade volume of $102 in 2010 to $500 million in the next three years, according to Asoka Girihagama, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, on Sunday.

In an interview to Oman Tribune, Girihagama said there were untapped aven-ues of bilateral commercial cooperation which the two countries would not ignore. He said 80 per cent of Omani exports to Sri Lanka was oil and gas and 80 per cent of imports from Sri Lanka was tea. Sri Lanka also exports machinery items, he said. Girihagama said Sri Lanka was keen to diversify bilateral cooperation as the two countries have potential to be major strategic trade partners. He said it needs some innovative ideas. 

The Sri Lankan Embassy stall at Muscat Festival showcases the potential of bilateral cooperation and avenues for bilateral trade, he said. Sri Lanka is getting ready for its national day celebrations on February 4, which would also be held on the Sri Lankan Embassy premises. He said as his country has ushered in an era of peace after experiencing tough times for several years, there is an opportunity to boost economic and trade ties. 

Oman and Sri Lanka could cooperate to ensure food safety in the two countries, he said. He highlighted investment opportunities in food processing and packaging and fisheries sectors. Oman-Sultanate tourism was growing, he said. In 2010, around 1,500 Omanis visited Sri Lanka. "We need to raise awareness among people across the world including Oman about the attractions in Sri Lanka," he said.

He said the Sri Lankan tourism department was distributing information brochures in Arabic and that in Sri Lanka it was easy to get interpreters and tourist guides who speak Arabic and help the Arab tourists. He said Sri Lanka has its own Ayurvedic system of medicine that attracts people from the West. "Medical tourism in Sri Lanka is cheaper than anywhere in South Asia," he said. (Oman Tribune)