The United Arab Emirates wishes to enhance bilateral trade and investments with Sri Lanka, its envoy in Sri Lanka Abdulhamid Abdulfattah K. Al Mulla announced during a meeting with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the country’s premier business chamber.
He expressed this interest during a visit to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently to discuss matters of mutual interest with Ceylon Chamber of Commerce CEO Dhara Wijayatilake. Senior Assistant Secretary General Lilakshini De Mel, responsible for matters relating to the business councils of the Chamber, was also present at the meeting.
“There are many opportunities to increase trade and we need to look at how this can be done,’ the Ambassador said during the meeting.
He said that the UAE had opened a visa center in Colombo with the expectation of enabling the speedy issue of visit visas for Lankan businessmen who wished to travel to the UAE for business purposes.
“We can provide a business visa within a few days, all matters will be finalised in Colombo,” the envoy added.
The Chamber CEO Wijayatilake briefed the Ambassador on the upcoming Sri Lanka Investment and Business Conclave 2017, which is being organised by the Ceylon Chamber and scheduled to be held at the end of May 2017. She said that it will be an ideal event which will offer business delegations a complete insight into the investment environment in Sri Lanka.
Two-way trade between Sri Lanka and the UAE during 2016 accounted for a total of $ 1.3 billion, with the trade balance remaining in favour of the UAE at $ 793 million, largely owing to Sri Lanka’s importation of oil from that country. Sri Lanka’s total export to the UAE during the year under review accounted for $ 274 million, with items such as tea, edible preparations and apparel counting as the main exports.