Qatar and Sri Lanka Can Build On Bilateral Relationships Towards Synergistic Opportunities

Sri Lanka Event

Doha Bank Rep Office Inauguration in Sri Lanka: Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, H.E Mr. A.S.P.Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank, Mr. Frank Hamer Chief International Banking Officer, Mr. Eranda Wishanake Weerakoon Sri Lanka Chief Representative Office.

Doha Bank one of the largest commercial banks in Qatar inaugurated its Sri Lanka Representative office. As part of this a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held at Sri Lanka Representative office on 7th June 2018 morning. HE Mr. A.S.P.Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, and Mr. Ibrahim Abdulla Al- Sheraim, Counselor from the Embassy of the State of Qatar, Colombo attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. As part of the inauguration celebrations Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session in the same evening on “Qatar- Sri Lanka Bilateral Opportunities” at Shangri – La Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The event witnessed participation from HE Mr. A.S.P.Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance and Mass Media and Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The event was well attended by Corporates and financial institutions who were interested in bilateral opportunities between Qatar and Sri Lanka.

Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on global economies. He said “Global growth is expected to be at 3.9 percent in 2018. Advanced economies are projected to grow at 2.5 percent in 2018. Growth in emerging market and developing economies is expected to increase to 4.9 percent in 2018. The surge in oil prices, rise in US bond yields ,strengthening of US dollar and trade divergence talks are some of the key developments impacting global economies.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy and Sri Lankan economy. He said “Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow 2.6 percent this year. Qatar lending growth is close to 3 percent in 1st Quarter 2018. The country’s foreign exchange reserves with the Qatar Central Bank remained broadly stable at around $38bn in February 2018, equating to six months of import cover. Qatar has brought various reforms since the economic blockade and is transforming into a self-reliant economy. Sri Lankan economy is expected to grow by 4 percent in 2018. Sri Lanka unveiled Vision 2025, which aims to position the country as an export hub in the Indian Ocean. As per Vision 2025, concrete steps will be taken to move from exporting mainly low-technology products to high-tech products and attracting transformational, knowledge-based investments.

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H.E Mr. A.S.P. Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, Mr. Ibrahim Abdulla Al- Sheraim, Counsellor from the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Colombo, Dr. R. Seetharaman,CEO of Doha Bank during ribbon cutting of Sri Lanka Representative office.

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Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank addressing the audience.

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Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka addressing the audience.

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Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance and Mass Media of Sri Lanka addressing the audience.

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave highlighted on various industries in Sri Lanka and bilateral with India. He said “According to Sri Lanka Vision 2025, Sri Lanka has formulated a new Trade Policy, along with an National Export Strategy. It will take advantage of new and existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Sri Lanka has more than 2 million tourist arrivals and it will aim to establish Sri Lanka as high-value destination. There were 1,700 Qataris who visited Sri Lanka in 2016 and there are still potential opportunities in the tourism sector. Manufacturing, infrastructure, marine, and energy are the other key sectors in Sri Lankan economy. India is a significant trade and investment partner with Sri Lanka. Major Indian corporates have presence in Sri Lanka. Trade business between Sri Lanka and India can be facilitated.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on Qatar – Sri Lanka Bilateral relationships. He said “There has been surge in diplomatic relationships between Qatar and Sri Lanka in last 3 years. Sri Lanka has enjoyed close ties with Qatar, with over 140,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar. There are 210 Sri Lankan companies established in partnership with the Qatari side. Sri Lanka’s imports from Qatar have primarily been Polymers of ethylene, Sri Lanka’s exports to Qatar were Bananas followed by food preparations, Tea, and vegetables. Sri Lanka can support Qatar in Food. Lulu Group has already started resourcing a number of food products from Sri Lanka for its hypermarkets in Qatar. Sri Lankan companies are looking to take part in Qatari projects and establish joint ventures in various sectors. Bilateral relationships can be explored in segments such as Fruits and Vegetables, Spices, Cereals, Rice, Boat Building, Fabrics, Construction Services, Garments and Information technology. Qatari corporates can also explore opportunities in Sri Lanka‘s infrastructure and energy sector. Qatar and Sri Lanka can build on surging bilateral partnerships toward synergistic opportunities.”