Posted on June 10, 2018

Doha Bank one of the largest commercial banks in Qatar inaugurated its Srilanka Representative office. As part of this a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held at Sri Lanka Representative office on 7th June 2018 morning.HE Mr.A.S.P.Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, and Mr. Ibrahim Abdulla Al- Sheraim, Counselor from the Embassy of the State of Qatar, Colombo attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

As part of the inauguration celebrations Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session in the same evening on “Qatar- Srilanka Bilateral Opportunities “at Shangri – La Hotel, Colombo, Srilanka.The event witnessed participation from HE Mr.A.S.P.Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance and Mass Media and Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.The event was well attended by Corporates and financial institutions who were interested in bilateral opportunities between Qatar and Srilanka.

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Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on global economies. He said “Global growth is expected to be at 3.9 percent in 2018. Advanced economies are projected to grow at 2.5 percent in 2018. Growth in emerging market and developing economies is expected to increase to 4.9 percent in 2018.The surge in oil prices, rise in US bond yields ,strengthening of US dollar and trade divergence talks are some of the key developments impacting global economies.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy and Srilankan economy. He said “Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow 2.6 percent this year. Qatar lending growth is close to 3 percent in 1st Quarter 2018. The country’s foreign exchange reserves with the Qatar Central Bank remained broadly stable at around $38bn in February 2018, equating to six months of import cover. Qatar has brought various reforms since the economic blockade and is transforming into a self-reliant economy. Srilankan economy is expected to grow by 4 percent in 2018. Sri Lanka unveiled Vision 2025, which aims to position the country as an export hub in the Indian Ocean. As per Vision 2025, concrete steps will be taken to move from exporting mainly low-technology products to high-tech products and attracting transformational, knowledge-based investments.

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave highlighted on various industries in Srilanka and bilateral with India. He said “According to Srilanka Vision 2025, Srilanka has formulated a new Trade Policy, along with an National Export Strategy. It will take advantage of new and existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Srilanka has more than 2 million tourist arrivals and it will aim to establish Sri Lanka as high-value destination. There were 1,700 Qataris who visited Sri Lanka in 2016 and there are still potential opportunities in the tourism sector.Manufacturing, infrastructure, marine, and energy are the other key sectors in Srilankan economy. India is a significant trade and investment partner with Srilanka. Major Indian corporates have presence in Srilanka. Trade business between Srilanka and India can be facilitated.”

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Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on Qatar – Srilanka Bilateral relationships. He said “There has been surge in diplomatic relationships between Qatar and Sri Lanka in last 3 years. Sri Lanka has enjoyed close ties with Qatar, with over 140,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar. There are 210 Sri Lankan companies established in partnership with the Qatari side.Sri Lanka's imports from Qatar have primarily been Polymers of ethylene, Sri Lanka's exports to Qatar were Bananas followed by food preparations, Tea, and vegetables.Srilanka can support Qatar in Food. Lulu Group has already started resourcing a number of food products from Sri Lanka for its hypermarkets in Qatar. Sri Lankan companies are looking to take part in Qatari projects and establish joint ventures in various sectors. Bilateral relationships can be explored in segments such as Fruits and Vegetables, Spices, Cereals, Rice, Boat Building, Fabrics, Construction Services, Garments and Information technology.Qatari corporates can also explore opportunities in Srilanka‘s infrastructure and energy sector. Qatar and Srilanka can build on surging bilateral partnerships toward synergistic opportunities.”