Financial Times

BOI urges German investors to take a fresh look at Sri Lanka

From left -- Wiestaw Kramski, Chairman, Kramski GmbH; Duminda Ariyasinghe, Executive Director (Investment Promotion), BOI; Dr Jurgen Ratzinger, Managing Director, International Business at Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Martin Ebeling, CEO of Graphit Kropfmuhl AG.

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) said this week it had conducted a successful investment promotion mission to Germany, targeting key business leaders in three cities. The highlight of the mission was a well-attended investment promotion seminar at the offices of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Main, in a meeting organised by the BOI in collaboration with the German Asia Pacific Business Association (OAV) and Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Addressing more than 50 German business leaders, Executive Director (Investment Promotion) of the BOI, Duminda Ariyasinghe said Sri Lanka was at the threshold of a strong growth trajectory. He said that while on one hand the conflict in Sri Lanka was nearing an end, the country was ideally placed to benefit from the economic boom in South Asia, thanks to its strategic location and preferential trading agreements with India and Pakistan, according to a press release from the BOI.

Addressing some of the misconceptions in Germany about Sri Lanka, Mr. Ariyasinghe said that no investor or foreigner had ever been harmed by the conflict in the island. He outlined the key incentives and facilities available to German investors in Sri Lanka. Three of the existing German investors in Sri Lanka presented case studies on their experiences in the island. Wiestaw Kramski, Chairman, Kramski GmbH who came to Sri Lanka in 1993 spoke of the success of his venture and said that despite some initial labour pains, his Sri Lankan operations had become very profitable. Martin Ebeling, CEO of Graphit Kropfmuhl AG which owns the Bogala graphite mines said his company felt very safe to operate in Sri Lanka and noted that in Sri Lanka any labour issue can be addressed through discussions, pointing to his company's collective agreement with workers. Thomas Kriwat, a senior member of the OAV and the Managing Director of Mercantile Shipping Company told the audience that investing in Sri Lanka was most rewarding if German companies identify the correct local partner.

The BOI statement said Dr. Jürgen Ratzinger, Managing Director, International Business at Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) complimented Sri Lanka for its strong economic growth. He said German companies can benefit from opportunities in Sri Lanka.

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