UK wants Sri Lanka to reduce market access barriers

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The United Kingdom (UK) wants Sri Lanka to reduce market access barriers and improve ease of doing business which will further boost the UK–Sri Lanka trade and investment relationship, the UK High Commission in Sri Lanka said today.

The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Sri Lanka Lord Davies of Abersoch visited Colombo from 9th to 11th November 2022.

During the visit Lord Davies had meetings with Minister of Trade Nalin Fernando, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, and Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe. Discussions focused on Sri Lanka’s trade and investment landscape, and plans on reforms and improving ease of doing business to support Sri Lanka’s path towards sustainable economic recovery.

Lord Davies engaged with wide-ranging representation from across the business community. This included economic analysts, UK transnational education providers, senior business representatives, women business leaders, members of the committee of the Council for Business with Britain. He also visited UK companies in the market, including London Stock Exchange Group, and Jaguar Land Rover’s showroom.

Lord Davies shared the following thoughts on his visit:

“I’ve had some insightful conversations and saw first-hand the innovative and hi-tech operations of some of the UK companies in the market. While economic challenges continue, it was encouraging to hear from companies about ambitions to increase their business in-country. I had an impressive discussion with women business leaders on the efforts to support more female leadership in the workplace and the encouragement of female entrepreneurship. I was also struck by the significant impact that UK educational qualifications delivered in Sri Lanka makes towards the country’s talented workforce.

I’ve had some engaging conversations with government stakeholders and economic analysts on the necessity of free and open market conditions which the UK champions globally, along with discussions on overcoming economic challenges. I look forward to continuing my support to UK companies as they look to enter or grow their existing business with Sri Lanka.”

The UK is keen to see Sri Lanka reduce market access barriers and improve ease of doing business which will further boost the UK–Sri Lanka trade and investment relationship. Sri Lanka is a valuable trading partner for the UK, with bilateral trade in 2021 worth £1bn, with the trade balance in Sri Lanka’s favour.

The UK is keen to boost the trade relationship particularly in the areas of education, and financial services sector, while also finding ways to support Sri Lanka’s ambitions on renewable energy and clean transport.


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