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Lankan Embassy plans expo, food festival to boost trade

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Muscat, which is celebrating 25 years of its establishment, has announced plans to organise a trade exhibition and food festival in October. In an exclusive interview, H. E Asoka Girihagama, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Oman, said that this is the first time such an exhibition is being planned by the embassy. lt will be held from October 10-12 at Al Falaj Hotel. "Bilateral trade between Oman and Sri Lanka was a miniscule US$l02mn in 2010. My mission is to see that figure rise to US$500mn," said H E Girihagama.

To do this, the embassy, in cooperation with the Oman Sri Lanka Business Council (OSBC), has identified 28 categories or avenues. lt is already working with Sri Lankan businesses to chart out details for investment and promotions in these sectors.

OSBC, too, is a new entity and was founded in March. "The arm is to facilitate business from both sides, and OSBC has been tasked with carrying the work forward. It is in its initial stage of operations, and the ground work for designing its logo, website and laying down of a charter is in progress. The next step will be to link it with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry."

The embassy has invited about 40 companies from Sri Lanka to the trade exhibition and the ambassador feels this would be a good starting point for businesses and people in Oman to know more about Sri Lanka and the products it has to offer.

The main products that are imported by Oman from the island nation currently include tea, ceramics and desiccated coconut, while oil products form the bulk of exports. "We want to show that the nation has more to offer than just tea and coconut.

From apparel, lT and light engineering products to handloom, spices, organic and rubber based products, we have shortlisted 28 categories that we can focus on.,' Tourism is another sector that Sri Lanka wants to develop. "We are seeing a boom in the sector, and the target for the country is 2.5mn visitors by 2016.With that plan in sight, there is an urgent need to increase the hotel room capacity, So there is huge scope for investment in the country."

M Najmuz Zafar


Source : Muscat Daily