The Seminar was held at the IFS office Conference room in Stockholm under the theme: “Sri Lanka-the Global Sourcing Destination & the Most Attractive Investment Destination in Asia “.
The main objective of this Seminar was to promote Sri Lanka among the business and investment community in Stockholm, Sweden to attract new investments, establish new business links and enhance the current investment and business activities between Sri Lanka and Sweden. The Seminar commenced with the presentation on ‘Sri Lanka, Your Next Business Stop’ by Mrs. Thavishya Mullegamgoda, First Secretary (Commercial) of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Sweden. In her presentation, she was able to present the current developments in the external sector of Sri Lanka, highlight the specialties of the main exports and sustainability of export industries of Sri Lanka and also to show the importance of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.
It was followed by three sector wise presentations by resource persons from Swedish companies which have already established their business and investment links with Sri Lanka. Mr. Fredrik Byrsjö, Global Support Director of IFS Scandinavia presented their company experience in IT sector with their operations in Sri Lanka over a span of years. He complemented IFS Sri Lanka by stating that, the company does not consider Sri Lanka as an outsourcing destination for IFS, but as an integral part of IFS Scandinavia. Ms. Margaretha Haglind, Marketing Manager Europe for Bogawantalawa Tea Estates PLC made her presentation on ‘Business with Sri Lanka – Experience from the Tea Sector’ while Mr. Jan Höjman, CEO of Tailor Store AB in Sweden presented his company’s experience in doing business with Sri Lanka in the Apparel sector. These representatives from the business companies, mentioned about the importance of Sri Lanka as a business and investment destination and highlighted the trustworthiness, capabilities, reliability and hospitality and the high literacy rate of Sri Lankans, as contributory factors to the success of their businesses in Sri Lanka .
Participants were impressed by the positive experience of the Swedish companies doing business in Sri Lanka and their enthusiasm was demonstrated through various queries made by them, on the possibility of making future investments in Sri Lanka. The participants had the opportunity to listen to the speakers, officially representing the Government of Sri Lanka. Ms. Chandra Ekanayake, Director General of the Department of National Budget of Ministry of Finance and Planning of Sri Lanka made her presentation on ‘current investment promotion strategies and development policies of the Government to facilitate business & foreign direct investments in Sri Lanka. Mr. Duminda Premaratne, Deputy Director (Investment Promotion) of Board of Investment of Sri Lanka made his presentation on ‘present Investment environment and Investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka. Further, their presentations provided a window to highlight the recent developments in infrastructure and tourism sectors of the country as well.
This event also created an excellent platform to the participants to discuss their issues, and to make clarifications on doing investments and business in Sri Lanka, by directly interacting with these senior officials from the Government of Sri Lanka.
This seminar was attended by investment and business entities in Stockholm such as Chambers, Business Sweden, SEB bank, Handelsbanken, International Council of Swedish Industry, the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board, Stockholm Group for trade and investments, KOTRA Sweden and representatives from private sector companies in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
There was participation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden as well. For Sri Lanka, it is important to organize business and investment promotional events in Nordic countries including Sweden to attract more foreign direct investments and business links from Nordic countries, due to the fact that Nordic countries have been expanding their investment and business relations with other Asian and African countries heavily in last few years, in keeping with the current trends in the global market. These countries have new found interests in Asian and African countries, realizing their potential. Asian and African countries are no longer considered only as aid recipient countries, but also regarded as markets for investments offering inventions and innovations for the Nordic companies including Sweden.
Thus, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Sweden is optimistic of the fact that, this seminar will bring unprecedented tangible and intangible benefits to Sri Lanka in the future.
Embassy of Sri Lanka, Sweden
27 November, 2014