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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Lanka upbeat on tea exports with Libyan economic liberalization

By Ravi Ladduwahetty – Sri Lanka Editor- Asian Tribune

Chambers’ of Commerce MoU to open new vistas in cross border trade

Colombo, 19 April, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka is bullish on increasing its value added tea exports to Libya with Libyan Government’s decision to make its private sector take off its economy.

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Libyan Chamber of Commerce will be the starting point for lots of interesting developments with the Government of Libya soon announcing for the private sector to take off as their engine of growth, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Secretary- General/ CEO- Lieutenant Colonel Harin Malwatte told Asian Tribune.

The decision of the Libyan Government to make the private sector the pillar of the economy will also see premier Sri Lankan tea brands such as Dilmah, Tea Tang and Melsna reach the shelves of the Libyan supermarkets, he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Malwatte, himself Head of Human Resources at Dilmah Teas prior to accepting the CCC appointment, said that Dilmah was packing teas for the Libyan Government which were based on Government to Government tenders and distributed at concessionary rates and that the decision of the Libyan Government to liberalize the economy where private sector takes off will see a host of opportunities for the value addition of teas.

Dhamitha Perera, Chairman of the Planters Association of Sri Lanka (the umbrella organisation of the 23 Regional Plantation Companies in Sri Lanka) who was the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce signatory to the joint MoU told Asian Tribune that there were numerous opportunities arising from the Libyan liberalization of economy where Sri Lanka would be able to garner support for its value added teas while also exporting bulk teas to be packed there.

There is a mix of both Libyan teas and Sri Lankan teas in that market with Sri Lanka already there and there will be opportunities for expansion in contrast to the present situation where there are five Libyan companies packing the bulk teas exported out of Sri Lanka, he said.

Perera also said that new vistas would be opening for Sri Lanka’s rubber exports with the demand there for rubber tyres and also for new opportunities for wheel alignment which companies such as the Jinasena Group subsidiary Loadstar would be able to exploit.

There is the return to natural products there from plastics which augur well for our exporters, he said.

The ten clauses in the MoU in promoting trade and commerce will also entail the sharing of trade information which will also give the much needed formal openings for parties to negotiate on a one- on- one basis and which would also assist in the establishment of new links. The MoU will also strengthen the ties between the two countries which will also be further fortified, given the fact that Libyan President Colonel Gaddaffi is the President of the African Union and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the current Chairman of SAARC.

Malwatte also said that Libya will also stand to gain in establishing industries in Sri Lanka to gain access to Indian and Pakistani markets under the concessions prevalent in the Indo- Lanka and Pak- Lanka Free Trade Agreements, which would not be available, had Libya exported to India and Pakistan directly.

We will be inquiring what areas of industry that Libyan businessmen will be interested in and this will be satisfactory where Sri Lanka is also looking for investments with ample scope and space within our network of Free Trade Zones, he said.

The Joint Business Council of both countries will also negotiate to clear the bottlenecks in the Customs and port/ airport related issues as well.

Perera also said that there was scope for Libyan exports of quality products into Sri Lanka at cheaper which the latter was importing from Europe. One such product was Olive Oil which was being imported from Italy and Portugal where the cost of production was high.

Malwatte also said that all importing countries of Sri Lankan products would be able to successfully download all trade information within the SAARC region with the launch of the website www.saarctrade.com on June 17 which will give insights of all activities such as trade, banking, customs, tariffs among a series of services under a country wise classification.

The decision of the Ceylon Chamber to get Planters Association Chairman Dhamitha Perera to be the signatory to the MoU was due to the fact that the delegation was essentially and predominantly tea industry members and given Libya being one of the primary importing countries of Sri Lankan teas and also the Chairman of the PA also being on the CCC Committee.

"The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 170th anniversary on March 25 and the Planters Association is 155 years old. Both associations go a long way and the PA has been one of the integral members of the CCC over a century and both associations have been consulted over the Government’s decision making apparatus for well over a centenary," Malwatte said.

The details of the MoU are as follows:

Memorandum Of Understanding Between The General Union Of Chambers Of Commerce & Industry Of the Great Jamahiriya And The Ceylon Chamber Of Commerce

The General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Great Jamahiriya and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and hereinafter referred to as the Parties:

With the aim of developing economic, commercial, technological and friendly relations between the two countries, believing that such objectives can only be achieved through closer cooperation and joint work, have agreed as follows:

Article 1

The Parties shall participate within their capacity in developing and promoting new forms of economic cooperation and commercial exchange between both countries.

Article 2

The Parties shall mutually assist their members and other companies and organizations within their countries in:

• Establishing direct contacts and developing business relations

• Seeking potential business partners as well as agents and distributors

• Participating in fairs and exhibitions, symposia, seminars and other events which will take place within their territory and

• Exchanging information about legislation and regulations regarding foreign trade, or other information of mutual interest.

Article 3

The Parties shall provide each other with information about commercial missions, informative sessions, market studies, foreign trade statistics, commercial opportunities and other information in this regard.

Article 4

The Parties shall promote the joint organization and participation in international trade seminars and informative sessions in their countries and the exchange of expertise in training.

Article 5

Both Parties shall assist establishments and companies in finding potential business partners, agent, distributors and customers.

Article 6

The Parties shall give each other information of the trade fairs, commercial missions in their territory, and they shall also promote the joint organization of these activities.

Article 7

Associations, companies, organizations can utilize the facilities given by each Party.

Article 8

Both Parties shall form a joint team that will be in charge of submitting a progress report annually on the results and activities, achieved under this Memorandum of Understanding.

Article 9

This Memorandum of Understanding shall be effective on the day of its signature and shall be valid for one year, and it shall be automatically renewed for one more years, unless either Party informs the other party, through diplomatic channels, by giving three months notice of its intention to amend or terminate this Memorandum of Understanding.

Article 10

This Memorandum of Understanding is no way exclusive and Parties are entitles to make similar agreements with other institutions.

- Asian Tribune -

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