Sri Lanka, Cebu traders meet for possible tie-ups
Members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry met with 12 Sri Lankan businessmen over the weekend to explore possible partnerships.
Benjamin Joseph Yap, provincial investment promotions officer, said the foreign businessmen were looking at partnerships in the fields of business process outsourcing and agriculture, among others.
“We hope to see joint ventures with private companies in the future. We hope to match them with the correct partners,” he told Cebu Daily News during the business matching and networking session at the Capitol on Saturday.
The Sri Lankan businessmen, who were accompanied by Philippine Honorary Consul in Sri Lanka Hugh Sriyal Dissanayake, were engaged in shipping, agriculture, construction, tea industry, cargo forwarding, and BPO.
Yap said the matching and networking session was only a venue for the two business communities to explore potential partnerships.
He said it would be up to them to do follow-up work and keep in touch.
In his presentation to the visitors, Yap said businesses in Cebu grew by 12 percent from 2013 to 2014.
“This is equivalent to 15,000 firms established here in Cebu during that time,” he said.
Cebu’s economy is driven largely by the services sector, which contribute about 55 percent to the gross regional domestic product. Industry contributes 39 percent while agriculture accounts for 6 percent.
Yap noted that Cebu, particularly Cebu City, is among the top 10 outsourcing destinations in the world based on the survey by investment advisory firm Tholons. In 2013, Cebu City ranked 8th.
Teodoro Locson, Jr., CCCI vice president for finance and administrative services, said they are looking forward to learning more about Sri Lankan trade policies.
He told the visiting businessmen that Cebu’s economy has been growing by an average of 9 percent in the last 5 years.
“This is 1.4 times faster than the rest of the country,” he said.
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Sri Lanka go as far back as 1951 with the former opening a diplomatic mission office in Colombo.
The Sri Lanka Philippines Business Council was established in 2009 to provide a venue for companies and individuals looking to trade with or invest in the country.
The foreign businessmen came at the invitation of Philippine Ambassador Vicente Bandillo, a native of Cebu.
The Cebu Chamber will also meet with visiting German businessmen on Wednesday.