The primary function of the Division is to promote Economic Diplomacy, which is implemented through the formulation of an annual action plan on Economic Diplomacy Programme. The four-fold priorities for Economic Diplomacy are :
- Boosting Exports
- Attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)
- Qualitative and quantitative expansion of foreign employment abroad for Sri Lankan citizens
- Promoting tourism
This is achieved through the following approaches :
1. Setting up Economic Indicators and Economic Performance Targets for Missions (EIPTM) for 2019, involving Trade and Investment
The Division is responsible in setting up specific Targets on Trade, Investment, Tourism and Foreign Employment for each Mission/Post. The compilation is done in collaboration with all the line agencies and stakeholders involving both government and private sectors such as EDB, BoI, SLTPB, SLFEB and the chambers of commerce.
2. Promotional Activities
Markets with high potential are selected for targeted economic promotional activities with a view to enhance Sri Lanka’s global footprint and to bring tangible economic benefits through collaboration with stakeholders. For implementation of the specific activities, the Missions/Posts are selected based on a set criteria to conduct special promotional events in line with the objectives of the line agencies namely EDB, BoI, Tourism Board and SLFEB.
3. Sri Lanka Foreign Policy and Economic Diplomacy Dialogue (SLFPEDD)
The two week annual dialogue is meant for mid-career Diplomats and is held in collaboration with the BIDTI and the LKI. The dialogue is aimed to provide a comprehensive picture of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations, with a focus on Sri Lanka’s active approach to economic diplomacy. It is expected that the positive experiences of the participants will help Sri Lanka’s diplomatic links around the world and promote Sri Lanka as an emerging destination for trade, investment and tourism in the Indian Ocean.
4. Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL)
Engaging Overseas Sri Lankans for development activities is another focus of the Division under Economic Diplomacy Programme, which is implemented in consultation with stakeholders. The main objective of this project is to enable the overseas Sri Lankans to contribute to economic development while providing recognition to their contribution. To serve this purpose, the Division proposes a 3R strategy; Re-engage, Recognize and Resettle focusing on Emigrants, Migrant Workers and Displaced Sri Lankans living abroad, respectively. Through this strategy, Overseas Sri Lankans will be involved through four approaches namely Economic, Political, Public and Cultural Diplomacy and People to People Contact.
In addition to the above, the Division is engaged with the following key areas :
Collaboration on formulating economic policies in respect of countries and regions, facilitation of negotiation/finalization, and implementation of MoUs/Agreements, participation in Joint Commissions on Economic Cooperation (JCEC), resolution of trade/investment disputes, trade related visa issues, and maintenance of record of travel advisories and countering any adverse advisories in coordination with line agencies.
Another core activity of the Division is engagement with international/inter-governmental and regional organizations to strengthen cooperation, formulation of Sri Lanka’s policy positions at these forums in consultation with stakeholders, and follow up on commitments undertaken. The Division is also responsible for organization of international/inter-governmental and regional meetings in Sri Lanka.
The Division handles backward and forward coordination of Sri Lanka’s relations with several UN Agencies in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. These include UNESCAP, WIPO, UNCTAD, WTO, IOM, WEF etc.
The Economic Affairs Division is the focal point of the following important regional organizations on economic and strategic cooperation :
- Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
- Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)
- Colombo Plan
The Division provides skills and training for targeted countries in South and South East Asia in collaboration with the line agencies in Sri Lanka, hosts dialogues/discussions on topics relevant to economic diplomacy with the participation of foreign nationals to enhance capacity building, and publishes outcome of such dialogues/discussions.
Periodic Special Projects
The main ongoing special projects are as follows :
- Expo Dubai 2020
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)