Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena proposed setting up of a Joint Economic Council with United Arab Emirates to promote trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. This proposal was made when UAE Minister of State of Economic & Trade Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Ahmed bin Ali Sayegh called on him at the Temple Trees in Colombo on October 11.
The UAE Minister agreed that official negotiations should be commenced soon for finalizing Cooperation of Economic Partnership Agreement for enhancing economic ties as there is immense potential in trade, energy, hospitality and tourism spheres as well as for increasing investments in renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka.
The Prime Minister said UAE has the opportunities now to invest in new sectors such as agriculture as new economic zones have been set up for growth of food crops for exports.
He thanked UAE for the support and assistance provided to Sri Lanka for the development work as well as for providing employment to nearly 300,000 Sri Lankan workers and the UAE Minister said the expatriate Sri Lankan workers are an asset for the economies of both the countries.
The UAE delegation included Ambassador Khalid Naser Al-Ameri, Director of the Office of the Minister of State, Sultan Al Mansoori and Deputy Director of the
Department of Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ghada Al Nabulsi. MP Yadamini Gunawardena, Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration Ranjith Ashoka and Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Harsha Wijewardene were also present during the meeting.