Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson yesterday said Sri Lanka could become one of the strongest economies in the Indian Ocean and applauded the Government’s efforts in taking bold reforms that were necessary for inclusive economic growth.
“Sri Lanka is embarking on an ambitious economic reform program and the growing business interest by a vibrant Australia offers the promise of increasingly close economic ties,” he said at the ‘Tech4Trade’ forum organised by the Australian High Commission in partnership with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) held in Colombo yesterday.
He pointed out that the adoption of new technology was a significant step for further growth and job creation to drive economic transformation and insisted that it must come from an expansive export-led strategy to better market and connect Sri Lanka to the rest of the world.
“Sri Lanka is a country that is open for competitive technology and we hope these new technologies will help the country to advance in trade. We consider Sri Lanka an audience that’s receptive to new technology,” the High Commissioner added.
He asserted that reforms were critical for economic transformation in Sri Lanka and he believed the country was in an excellent position to be a regional hub.
Noting that bilateral relations within the two countries were in excellent health, Hutchesson stressed that trade and investment would continue to grow from the current AUD 1 billion.
“Although our two-way trade in goods and services is not growing as fast as we would like, our economic partnership is becoming more important and continues to grow.” The commencement of SriLankan Airlines’ direct flights to Melbourne was stressed as a significant milestone as Australia and Sri Lanka celebrate 70 years of partnership, adding that two-way tourism will also being to boom with direct flights. The High Commissioner also acknowledged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s formal bilateral visit to Australia in February as the first such visit by a Sri Lankan leader in decades.
The two day event which concludes today at the Cinnamon Grand has brought together a host of experts from Australia, the World Bank as well as Sri Lanka to discuss via keynotes and panels the latest technology for trade, finance, SMEs, supply chain and logistics. Specific experts included those from CSIRO (Australia’s scientific agency) and 1 Stop Connections (an Australian SME that has developed digital solutions to optimise port operations), the World Bank and the Global Trade Professionals Alliance.