Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment hosted an Israeli business delegation led by Anat Bernstein-Reich, Vice President of the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce and Chairperson of the Israel-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce. The delegation expressed interest in harnessing Sri Lanka’s free trade agreements (FTAs) to carry out trade with other countries in the Asian region. Sri Lanka already has two free trade agreements with India and Pakistan while it is expected that the country would soon enter into a new free trade agreement with China. According to a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Board of Investment, Israeli companies were studying the possibility of using the recently introduced entrepot trade facility. An entrepot is a trading post from where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. Such a facility would allow Israel to stock up its goods at the Hambantota Port, for re-export to other markets.
A number of Israeli companies currently operate in Sri Lanka. One of them is the Diamond Cutters Ltd., which has been operating for more than a decade on the island. The company is engaged in cutting and polishing diamonds. The gems are then re-exported to Israel. Some of the diamonds are used by the highend wristwatch industry. It currently employs 900 workers and has contributed to making Sri Lanka a centre for the diamond industry.
Another company exports tuna fish from Sri Lanka to Israel and Europe. It also promotes tourism to Sri Lanka from Israel and Russia. One area in which the Israeli delegation expressed interest in was breeding of livestock, particularly poultry farming.