A business delegation from New Zealand visited Sri Lanka in November with a view to strengthen trade and business relations between the two countries.
The delegation of 17 New Zealand organizations represented many industries and was led by former New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Don McKinnon and Grahame Morton, High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The entire Mission was well planned and organized by Kevin McKenna , Trade Commissioner, Western and Southern India and Consul General to Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa and his team of Sreedhar, Daljit and Irfan at NZTE, Mumbai.
Trade between New Zealand and Sri Lanka is now around 280 million US dollars and New Zealand export to Sri Lanka is 229 million dollars with milk powder, apples, pears and butter being the top exports.
The entire Mission was a good team work of New Zealand-Sri Lanka Business Council, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Board of Investment in Sri Lanka and the Hon. Consul of NZ in Sri Lanka Senaka Silva with NZTE.
Grahame Morton, the NZ High Commissioner said that he was very pleased to be joined on this mission by former deputy Prime Minister and trustee of the Asian New Zealand Foundation, Sir Don McKinnon, a long-time friend of Sri Lanka, and by NZTE Trade Commissioner Kevin McKenna and his team, who provide invaluable leadership to companies from their Mumbai base. He went to add that Sri Lankans and New Zealanders find common experience as citizens of island nations with proximity to larger country neighbours, and a shared love for the natural environment, cricket and rugby - the All Blacks have a huge Supporters Club following in Sri Lanka. He said that this is an exciting period of opportunity for Sri Lanka and a great time for New Zealand businesses to be considering new opportunities in the growing South Asia region.
Kevin McKenna, NZ Consul in Mumbai said that NZTE help investors identify New Zealand based opportunities and gain access to government and private sector contacts. He said that NZTE connects international buyers and investors to industries in which New Zealand has a long-term sustainable advantage, in particular value-added food and beverages and knowledge intensive manufacturing and services such as marine, aviation, health IT; and to businesses with high-growth potential. NZTE focuses on international opportunities that match New Zealand’s business capability and provide significant, sustained economic benefit to New Zealand. In delivering this multi-sector business mission to Sri Lanka, NZTE worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Education New Zealand (ENZ) to provide an enriching experience for New Zealand companies exploring the Sri Lanka opportunity.
The B2B meet arranged for the delegates by NZTE and its team was useful for the delegates and there was a great appreciation of the right choice of companies in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, some tangible results would emerge.
Ravindra Karunanayake, Minister of Finance Sri Lanka speaking to the delegation at the Taj during the Session on “Economic and Business Overview on Sri Lanka” spoke of the current situation in Sri Lanka and the environment is very supportive for Foreign Companies to do business with Sri Lanka.
In a personal meeting with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Rt.Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe- he recalled fondly his visit to New Zealand three years ago and he was pleased to know about the New Zealand Business Delegation to Sri Lanka. He said that his Government is keen on foreign investment and they would look at proposals for Government support especially in areas of New Zealand expertise.
The entire Mission was very successful and it has set the pace to accelerate Sri Lanka New Zealand relationship. The visit by NZ Prime Minister in the near future will surely boost the relationship to a greater height.
The New Zealand organizations that were in the Delegation to Sri Lanka are DGL International Powder Coatings, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd, Eastern Institute of Technology, Genomic and Personalised Medicine Ltd, International Aviation Academy of New Zealand, Maxiloda Limited, NORTHEC, Patton Refrigeration India Pvt Ltd, Powershield Ltd, QualityNZ, Southern Institute of Technology, Tait Communications, Unitec Institute of Technology, Vista Entertainment Solutions, WAML Group, Wellington Institute of Technology Education New Zealand and Whitireia New Zealand.