Primary industries minister Daya Gamage says this is an appropriate time for Thai entrepreneurs to look upon Sri Lanka, not only as an attractive business destination but also as a gateway to the entire South Asian region.
He made the remark while making a toast to the national day celebration of the Kingdom of Thailand yesterday (05).
The minister noted that today, Sri Lanka’s robust economic growth provides enormous potential for further enhancement of economic exchanges and opportunities for our two countries, especially in trade, investment and tourism.
Keeping in line with the economic policy of the government, Sri Lanka offers a conducive, safe and stable environment to attract investment, he said.
Tourism plays a major role in economic development in both countries and tourism sector is becoming a key driver of Sri Lankan economy. In my view, tourism in Sri Lanka would be an attractive sector for Thai investors, he said.
Text of the speech:
Your Excellency the Ambassador of Thailand to Sri Lanka,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be present here today representing the Government of Sri Lanka on this happy occasion of the National Day of Thailand. On behalf of His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations and warm wishes to the Government and the people of Thailand on this joyous occasion.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955, both countries have worked closely to deepen and broaden our bilateral ties based on mutual respect and friendship. Our relations date back to several centuries and the Theravada Buddhism is one important factor which bind both our countries.
The recent high level visits between the two countries have created a new paradigm in our bilateral relations. In this regard, I wish to recollect the visit of our president His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena to Thailand in November 2015 and his Working visit in October 2016. I also had the opportunity to participate in this state visit, in my capacity as the Minister of Primary Industries. Thailand’s Honourable Prime Minister was an excellent host and I thank him for his generosity towards us. I was able to return this in kind through my organisation of the visit of the Thai Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs, HE Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak in his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2016.
The bilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka and Thailand are multi-faceted and it covers economy, technology, agriculture and intelligence sharing. High level visits between the armed forces of the two countries have strengthened cooperation in the field of defence. The Government of Sri Lanka appreciates the support extended by Thailand to those affected by natural disasters this year and during the recent outbreak of dengue.
Sri Lanka and Thailand are part of number of regional initiatives which are aimed at promoting regional cooperation and integration. We are members of ACD, BIMSTEC, IORA, ARF and Bali Process. Sri Lanka and Thailand are founding members of the BIMSTEC. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of BIMSTEC and Sri Lanka looks forward to work with Thailand in promoting regional cooperation and integration through BIMSTEC and other relevant regional forums.
Today, Sri Lanka’s robust economic growth provides enormous potential for further enhancement of economic exchanges and opportunities for our two countries, especially in trade, investment and tourism. Keeping in line with the Economic Policy of the Government, Sri Lanka offers a conducive, safe and stable environment to attract investment. This is, therefore, an appropriate time for Thai entrepreneurs to look upon Sri Lanka, not only as an attractive business destination but also as a gateway to the entire South Asian region.
Tourism plays a major role in economic development in both countries and tourism sector is becoming a key driver of Sri Lankan economy. In my view, tourism in Sri Lanka would be an attractive sector for Thai investors.
Both Sri Lanka and Thailand are vulnerable to the emerging traditional and non-traditional security threats. These challenges could only be addressed through the mechanism of bilateral and regional cooperative efforts.
I shall fail in my duty, if I do not mention the dynamism and enthusiasm demonstrated by H.E. Mrs. Chulamanee Chartsuwan, the Ambassador of Thailand to Sri Lanka within the short period from her arrival in furthering our bilateral relations. A prime example of this is the MOU, under the Thailand-Sri Lanka Agreement, signed between the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operative (a state-owned Thai bank), the Ministry of Primary Industries and Kazakhstan University, to improve technology, entrepreneurship and the processes in the field of primary industries. I would like to take this moment to thank Mrs. Chulamanee Chartsuwan for her support on this. I am confident that the partnership between our countries will contribute to the success and prosperity of our people and would provide an ideal platform for further progress and expansion of ties in the years ahead.
Finally, the assurance given by Thailand that the trade volume between both countries, currently at $500 million, will double in the next 5 years, is a common goal and one I am certain we can achieve. Although I know this is in Thailand’s, we are hoping this will become more balance and maybe even lean towards Sri Lanka more positively!
It gives me great pleasure to now invite you to join me in a toast:
– To the health and wellbeing of His Majesty Maha Vajiralongkorn, the King of Thailand and the people of Thailand
– To the close friendship, cooperation and partnership between Thailand and Sri Lanka
– To the continued prosperity and success of the Kingdom of Thailand.