11th July, 2012
JOHOR BAHARU: Malaysian investors must seize opportunities offered by the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and India and also with Pakistan to invest in South Asia.
The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (NCCIM) Secretary General Datuk Syed Hussien Al-Habshee said by investing in Sri Lanka, Malaysian companies can also penetrate the market of 1.5 billion in India and Pakistan.
“Sri Lanka through its FTA with India and Pakistan offers huge opportunities for Malaysian investors,” he told Bernama.
He said this after accompanying a recent Malaysian trade delegation to Sri Lanka, headed by NCCIM President, Syed Ali Alattas.
The delegation comprised representatives of 25 companies involved in such diverse industries as energy and manufacturing.
The delegation also had meetings with Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse, as well as the Minister of Industry and Trade, Rishad Bathiuddin.
“Both senior ministers welcomed investments from Malaysia. They also hoped Malaysia could contribute to the development of Sri Lanka’s economy,” Syed Hussien said.
He said under the FTA with India, a total of 4,200 Sri Lankan products were exempted from tax by the former, while in the case of Pakistan, there were 3,200 products which enjoyed the benefit.
Through the FTA with India and Pakistan, he added, Malaysian investors can set up plants in Sri Lanka before exporting their products to both countries without any problems.
“Doing business in Sri Lanka is also at a satisfactory level, with the country placed 80th globally, in the category of “ease of doing business”.
“Although Sri Lanka is only just recovering from a civil war, it was still able to post a growth rate of eight per cent last year,” Syed Hussien said.
During the visit to Sri Lanka, NCCIM also signed a memorandum of understanding with its counterpart from that country.
The Sri Lanka-Malaysia Business Council will be established soon to encourage investments in both countries.