A lacuna in Sri Lankan expatriate engagement in trade, commerce and investment with the wider world was bridged with the inauguration of the Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce on December 09, 2021. The Chamber made its debut in the State of Nevada’s Entertainment Capital of Las Vegas with a long-term objective: Las Vegas throughout the year is the attraction of global business leaders to promote investment, commerce and trade through conventions. The Chamber is motivated to base its professional activities and global reach in the City.
Having inaugurated the Chamber in a productive and globally-active environment, it is prepared to have perennial discourse with industry leaders throughout the American nation and those who visit the City of Las Vegas from all corners of the globe to engage in their trade and commerce endeavors that engulf the global citizenry. Especially, the Chamber will give a helping hand to strengthen trade and commerce between the United States and Sri Lanka. This forum will seek, and embrace the opportunity to fulfill its objectives to engage in global economic activities, and to establish itself as a vanguard for such endeavors. To fulfill the above objectives and commitments, the Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce has a clear Vision and a forward-looking Mission.
The chamber will undertake information sharing between The United States, and Sri Lanka periodically convening seminars, workshops, and establish networking between businesses & state departments from both nations. Additionally, provide advisory services to the Trade & Commerce Division of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington, D.C and its Consulates in other states.
The chamber will perform as a premier business forum to effectively facilitate and develop trade, commerce, and investment between the United States of America and Sri Lanka while strengthening bilateral relations.
Undertaking an ambitious project of this nature – Inaugurating a Chamber of Commerce known as Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce – is no small task. The objective of this is to make this Chamber a trade, commerce and investment vehicle on American soil with global reach.
Based in the State of Nevada in the City of Las Vegas during this brief period of preparation and outreach we gained confidence that this Chamber could become a national organization with multiple chapters in major metropolitan cities in the United States gaining rapport with those who are engaged in international trade and commerce.
City of Las Vegas is undoubtedly a unique place to consolidate a chamber of this nature, with a high volume of visitors. In fact, the City of Las Vegas is the global capital of conventions, and we quite rightly based the Chamber in this city.
The Chamber intends developing an action plan to set up economic ties at Macro and Micro levels, and envisages establishing and strengthening ties with INGOs and NGOs that could help Sri Lanka to move back to the path of economic mobility.
We intend exploring the “Sister City” concept to tie up with the newly developed Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka with major metropolitan cities in the United States to promote trade and commerce. Discussions are already in progress with the City of Las Vegas as our pilot city to implement this pilot project. The Port City Colombo is the Gateway to South Asia, strategically located in the Indo-Pacific region, and its most recent revenue is US$81.7 billion ranking it the 93rd among Fortune 500 Companies.
At the micro-level, Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce will be targeting small and medium entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka to provide a firm launching platform to their products and services to global markets. The Chamber has currently established an e-commerce platform to fulfill this task, and today at this august assembly it will be inaugurated.
To fulfill the tasks that I have presented before you, and many more projects in the pipeline, the Chamber’s Board of Directors is occupied by persons with broad experience and academic achievements.
Sri Lanka and the United States need to further strengthen their bilateral relations in the areas of trade, commerce and investments as well as the diplomatic relations. The two nations established diplomatic relations after Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948. However, the trade and commerce between the two nations date back to the eighteenth century when America established a trade post in Sri Lanka’s deep-south City of Galle. In the mid-eighteen hundreds, American Missionaries came when Sri Lanka was still under British rule to establish colleges and medical schools to impart education and knowledge. This Chamber envisages continuing these relations between the two nations.
The existing trade and commerce between Sri Lanka and the United States is a solid groundwork for our Chamber to work ahead. We intend to make use of this solid foundation in which the U.S. is the largest importer with 25% of Sri Lanka’s imports.
Initiation of the Sri Lanka America Chamber of Commerce with a national presence may be an ambitious project but with all our efforts we will make that dream a reality.
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