The newly appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to South Africa, Kumar Mallimaratchi held discussions with key business leaders, namely, Mr. Herman Breedt, President of Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Ms. Bernadette Zeiler, Head of International Trade of JCCI, Mr. Ben De Klerk, Chairman of African Chambers Association and Ms. Anina Hough of GTS Africa Pty Ltd during the first week after his assumption of duties at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Pretoria.
During the meetings, High Commissioner-designate stressed that his intent is to enhance trade relations with South Africa by increasing interactions between public and private sector organizations of both countries. Highlighting the decline of market share of Ceylon tea to South Africa over the last 3 decades due to tariff and non-tariff barriers, he expressed that, with the assistance of trade chambers, he wishes to initiate and propose an appropriate bilateral trading arrangement to eliminate such barriers, and create more market access opportunities for export products of each other’s country for mutual benefit. He also informed that the High Commission is to organize a series of country promotional events next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and South Africa, and also, on the sidelines of the tour of Sri Lanka National Cricket team to South Africa from February to March. He also stressed the importance of the involvement of business chambers in every activity related to trade, investment, and tourism promotion.
While welcoming the new High Commissioner, the business leaders, assured of their fullest cooperation to strengthen the bilateral economic relationship and expressed their willingness to work closely with the High Commission to organize the said promotional events next year. The JCCI also agreed to organize a business delegation to Sri Lanka early next year to explore trade and investment opportunities. The High Commissioner-designate was accompanied by Kapila J. Kumara, First Secretary - Commercial to the meetings.