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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2677

WB’s Washington investment team in town

Colombo, 11, July, (Asiantribune.com):

A top investment assessment delegation from World Bank’s Washington offices is now in town. Boats, ICT and spices are among Lankan exports that show future promise- and the World Bank is open to evaluate the possibility of supporting an Exim Bank for Sri Lanka’s export push, as revealed on 10 July. “As the apex body of Sri Lankan exports, the EDB works with and across all stakeholders to develop exports. Our exporters will benefit greatly by an Exim Bank” stressed Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB) on 10 July in Colombo.

ED-EDB Dr Maraikkar was addressing the visiting World Bank team from Washington led by none-other than Roberto Echandi (Global Investment Policy Lead - Investment Climate Unit of the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice), known for his interest in the field of investment collaboration with developing countries. Also joining the 10 July session was Colombo World Bank’s Emanual Salinas (Programme Leader-Growth and Competitiveness).

• “Looking for anExim Bank for exporters’-EDB’s Dr Maraikkar
‘Good Idea’-WB’s Emanual
‘Export led FD is the key’-Washington’s Echandi
Boats, ICT/BPM, spices showing promise- Dr Maraikkar

“We are trying to find about export oriented investment prospects in Sri Lanka, given the fact that future of Sri Lanka lies in exports” said Investment Policy Lead Echandi, and added: “This is the main vehicle that lots of countries not only increased their exports but even transformed themselves along with value added to the exports and strengthening of value chains. Therefore this is not only about exports focused FDI but how the investment policy helps exports.”

“We are here at the request of government of Sri Lanka looking into opportunities to enhance competitiveness of the Lankan private sector, in particular there is a realisation that sources of Lankan growth in the past will not drive the growth in future” said Programme Leader Salinas and added: “When it comes to export terms, we are here to find how the investment policy helps exports-in that how FDIs are helping Sri Lanka to connect to the global value chains. Clearly Sri Lanka has lots of potential to link with global investors and enhance exports. This mission will then give recommendations on relevant regulations, processes and institutions thereafter since we are responding to the objective of the government to enhance private sector led growth and creating one million more jobs in Sri Lanka and identifying the individual elements such as the investment climate, attracting FDIs, access to finance, export oriented services and trade facilitation to make it easy for local exporters access global markets. We are happy to partner with the government. We have received the request to provide assistance to develop the strategy for Export Promotion and Related policies, and this is an area of high importance. We are very much hoping to collaborate in that regard.”

Responding to the visiting World Bank team, Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB) said: “The EDB, as the apex body of Sri Lankan exports, works with and across all stakeholders of exports including the exports community, Chambers, SMEs, industries and import substitution sectors as well to enhance our exports, under the guidance of Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen. Sri Lankan apparels, tea, cinnamon and pepper are some of the globally well-known products. Apart from surging apparel exports, our ICT/BPM, boat & ships, rubber products, food and spices exports have shown promising growth. Our committed exporters will benefit greatly if an Exim Bank is established in Sri Lanka. We welcome World Bank’s support in this regard.”

Responding to Dr Maraikkar, Colombo WB Programme Leader Salinas said: “An Exim Bank will be a new financial institution with the support of the government. It needs to be based on the existing gaps in finance scenario. We are not very clear what the gap right now. If we were to look into this, identifying the gap would be a starting point. If that gap exists and cannot be covered by existing financial institutions, then we need to identify as to the rationale for this new institution. If the need is identified clearly, it would be an area the World Bank would be happy to look into with inputs from the authorities.”

The visiting WB team is also due to meet other top Lankan line Ministries and government agencies in investment and export support segments.

- Asian Tribune –

Dr Yousuf Maraikkar (ED-EDB-far left) meets the visiting World Bank investment mission from  Washington led by Roberto Echandi (Global Investment Policy Lead - Investment Climate Unit of the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice-seated third from left) and Emanual Salinas (Programme Leader-Growth and Competitiveness-second from left) on 10 July at EDB.
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