Malaysia is now Sri Lanka`s single largest source of foreign investment it was announced at the Sri Lanka Malaysia business council`s third annual awards on Friday.
Bilateral trade now stands at almost $ 500 million, but the balance of trade is weighted heavily in Malaysia`s favour with the value of Sri Lanka`s exports estimated at a scant $ 30 million dollars while imports from Malaysia now stand at over $450 million.
While speakers at the ceremony praised the rapid expansion of economic ties between the two nations, concerns were raised as to the extent of the trade imbalance and the slow progress of the proposed Free Trade Agreement which would facilitate the movement of Sri Lankan goods to Malaysia.
The event was an opportunity for the business community to welcome the new Malaysian high commissioner Mr. Rosli Ismail who has only just arrived in Colombo. He replaces Mrs. Nazirah Hussain who was commended by a number of speakers for playing a key role in fostering the development of bilateral trade and investment.
Malaysia`s status as Sri lanka`s largest investor rendered this years awards, which recognise excellence in the field of trade and business, particularly significant. Awards were presented to outstanding firms operating in the categories of hospitality, IT, import and distribution, transport, and infrastructure development. Winners included Associated Autoways Pvt limited, Hemas air services, Idac air-conditioning, Epic Lanka IT specialists and KKK distributors.
The Sri Lanka Malaysia business council was itself praised for its part in developing closer relations between the business communities of Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The event emphasised the historical, geographical, demographic and post colonial similarities which bind Sri Lanka and Malaysia and provide a firm basis for ever closer cooperation.