A discussion between the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and officials of the Indian High Commission was held recently to explore avenues to strengthen bilateral trade, investment, and economic coorporation.
The discussion took place when the newly appointed president of the FCCISL Keerthi Gunawardane and board members Saranga Wijeyarathne, Ruwan de Silva, Abbas Kamurdeen, Dhammika Lokuge and Tilan Wijesuriya met the Deputy High Commissioner of India Vinod K Jacob and First Secretary Vivek Sharma at the Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence in Colombo.
During the discussions, FCCISL noted the great potential to further develop the tourism sector which can benefit both countries in a significant manner. In addition to tourism, both parties discussed ways to create benefits to both countries using the Sri Lanka - India FTA.
Discussions also focused on food security and energy security which are two important areas of concern to both countries. The Deputy High Commissioner of India assured the possibility of sharing knowledge that India has in these sectors with Sri Lanka.
They also mentioned the importance of allowing the use of the Indian Rupee (INR) in Sri Lanka and that they will consider the use of the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) in India which will have an impact specially on tourism.
Further, they pointed out the importance of allowing the Indian digital payment systems to use in Sri Lanka. This will reduce the demand for USD which will be a direct benefit especially to Sri Lanka at this juncture. The Indian High Commission officials indicated that the UAE, France and Mauritius have already allowed Indians to use Indian digital payment systems such as RUPAY and will allow for more spending by Indians which can directly benefit the businesses.
FCCISL and the Indian High Commission have maintain a very close relationship over the years. Since Covid 19 has restricted physical meetings, High Commission officials and FCCISL met almost after a lapse of 2 years to discuss matters relevant to both countries which benefit business and industries.
FCCISL was also the focal point during the past for various scholarship programs offered by the Indian Government and they assured their support to create more opportunities for members of Sri Lanka chambers' network.