The 13th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka – France Business Council (SLFBC) of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was held on the 25th of July 2017.His Excellency, Mr. Jean-Marin SCHUH, the Ambassador for France in Sri Lanka and Maldives graciously hosted the event at the official residence of His Excellency.
The event was attended by Mr. Buddhi Athauda – Sri Lanka Ambassador designated to France, the membership of the Business Council and other distinguished guests.
The SLFBC was inaugurated in 2004 under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce with the primary objectives of promoting trade,tourism and investments and services between Sri Lanka and France and vice versa.
Dr. Asanka Ratnayake, Group Director – Hayleys Advantis Limited was re-elected as the President of the Council for the year 2017-2018. In his address Dr. Ratnayake emphasized the importance of France as a trading partner for Sri Lanka.
Highlighting the key activities and events undertaken by the Business Council, Dr. Ratnayake mentioned about the interactive luncheon meeting with Agence Française de Développement(AFD) under the theme “France: AFD Group ~ a committed finance partner to Sri Lanka.” Mr Yatin Kundra, Senior Investment officer of Propaco India and Mr Martin Parent, Director, AFD Colombo office made presentations on AFD and Propaco’s activities and how the business community could connect with them. The event was attended by over 60 persons from business sectors of member and non-member companies.
On networking front the SLFBC partnered with the Cultural Section of the Embassy of France at “Beaujolais Nouveau” – celebration of the launch of new wine. The event was held in November 2016 at the Waters Edge.It was open for Business Council members and their guests to participate and connect with French Culture.
Beginning of July, the Business Council organized another cocktail and networking event with the performance of French Jazz Band “Gala Swing Quartet” which was attended by over 70 guests.
With positive changes in the regulatory environment, the European Union approved GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka in May this year. This opens up a plethora of new opportunities for Sri Lankan exporters’ to enhance trading with French companies.
In this backdrop, the President briefed the members of a business forum that is proposed to be conducted in France in collaboration with Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), Board of Investment (BOI), and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) together with Sri Lankan Embassy in France. The purpose of the joint forum is to promote Sri Lanka as a most lucrative country for investment and trade in the South East Asian region. The effort is to market the country through a joint collaborative effort.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Guest, His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marin SCHUH spoke of the steady growth in trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and France and acknowledged the improved strength in bilateral relationships between the two countries. His Excellency commended the efforts directed towards building strong relationships and mentioned about the MOU to be signed between EDB and Business France.
The Business Council also took the opportunity to bid adieu to Mr. Hugues REYDET, the Economic Counsellor of the French Embassy, completing his assignment in Sri Lanka. The President of SLFBC lauded him for his contribution and for the support rendered.
Mr. Senake Amerasinghe, Managing Director, Carmart Limited and Mr. Godfrey Aloysius, Managing Director – Free Lanka Trading Company (Pvt) Limited were appointed as vice presidents for the ensuing year. Associated Motorways (Pvt) Limited, CMA-CGM Lanka (Pvt) Limited, Delmege Forsyth & Company Limited, Infotechs (Pvt) Limited and Noyon Lanka (Pvt) Ltd were elected from the membership to serve on the Executive Committee of the Council. Mr. Dilipan Tyagarajah of Alstom serves the Committee as the immediate past president.
From left: Rasangika De Silva (Secretariat), Rukmal Wijesinha – Noyon Lanka (Pvt) Limited, Nilantha Fernando – Delmege Forsyth & Company Limited, Ikram Ghazali – CMA-CGM Lanka (Pvt) Limited, Dilipan Tyagarajah – Alstom, Godfrey Aloysius – Free Lanka Trading Company (Pvt) Limited, Senake Amerasinghe – Carmart Limited, Dr. Asanka Ratnayake – Hayleys Advantis Limited, H.E. Mr. Jean-Marin SCHUH – Ambassador for France in Sri Lanka, Michelle Pinto – Infotechs (Pvt) Limited, Samantha Rajapaksa – Associated Motorways (Pvt) Limited, Hugues Reydet – Economic Counsellor, Embassy of France in Sri Lanka