COLOMBO, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday that it will look to promote the country as the first choice for international companies.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake told a seminar that Sri Lanka must pursue a "hub diplomacy," which relentlessly promotes Sri Lanka as the first-choice location for the regional headquarters of international companies, from established multinationals to expanding start-ups.
"Just as Singapore established itself as a successful hub between India and China, so too can Sri Lanka, as a center of the entire Indian Ocean region (that has a population over 2 billion), between Singapore and Dubai," he said.
The minister also said that Sri Lanka needed to research and pursue new sources of investment, closer to home.
"These include the Chinese-led Silk Road Fund, Export-Import Bank of China and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but also new sources of capital in other markets in the region, including in South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East," he said.
"We must continue to prioritize our proposed free trade agreements with India, China and Singapore. If our local resources are overstretched, we should seek external expertise and training to conclude these negotiations."
The minister also said Sri Lankan foreign policy must prioritize commercial diplomacy, take a clear stand for values that are in its long-term interest, and embrace digitalization and the millennial generation.