Sri Lanka has clinched continued support for its international trade work from the Commonwealth on March 9.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is representing Sri Lanka at the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting that opened in London on 9 March.
Joining Minister Bathiudeen is Sri Lanka’s Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, and many other Trade Ministers from the Commonwealth.
In London, Minister Bathiudeen has been extended commonwealth support to develop Sri Lanka’s international trade in many ways.
“Talks with the Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of Commonwealth on March 9 in London were successful” said Minister Bathiudeen over phone on 10 March. “We are set to receive continued positive support from the Commonwealth to our international trade work as a result.” Minister Bathiudeen and added: “Sri Lanka’s historic relations with the Commonwealth stands further enhanced with this pioneering London event. Especially the “Agenda for Growth” idea to promote trade, investment and job creation in member countries such as Sri Lanka shall help our unity government’s reform vision of industry and commerce.”
Minister Bathiudeen meeting Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on March 9 discussed the progress of Commonwealth’s projects with Sri Lanka. The Secretary-General Scotland thanked Sri Lanka for their contribution to the Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility and discussed ongoing projects where the Secretariat is providing technical assistance to Sri Lanka. These include support with free trade agreement negotiations, designing an export diversification strategy and helping to set up an export/import bank.
Minister Bathiudeen is no stranger to the Commonwealth initiatives. In July 2014, the Executive Director of Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBW) Arif Zaman met Minister Bathiudeen in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen was the first Lankan Cabinet Minister to be informed of Arif Zaman’s news that CBW has picked Sri Lanka to be its pioneering training point for its int’l women entrepreneurship initiative, the Commonwealth Women in Business Academy. This Academy consists of two components-a Business Exchange Platform and an International Entrepreneurship Training for Commonwealth Women.
The inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting (CTMM) took place at Lancaster House in London on 9 and 10 March in advance of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK, with many Trade Ministers across the C’Wealth joining the event. The objective of CTMM is to reaffirm the commitment of Commonwealth member countries to a “transparent free and fair multilateral trading system,” and to define an ambitious Commonwealth led “Agenda for Growth” to promote trade, investment and job creation in member countries. This will support the target of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to US$1 trillion by 2020. The recommendation to hold the March 9-10 meeting was an outcome of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015.(LIN)