Sri Lanka’s participated for the first time at the 11th edition of the China International SME Fair (CISMEF) in Guangzhou which was held during 11 to 14 October 2014. Sri Lanka’s participation in Chinese trade is considered as a landmark in promoting trade relations of both countries and establishing the presence of Sri Lanka’s premium trade products in Guangdong – China’s richest province.
The Sri Lanka Pavilion was jointly organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and had strong representation from business leaders of the SME sector, showcasing premium products from thrust export sectors such as gems and jewellery, tea and spices, handicrafts, handlooms and ayurvedic products.
Mrs. Sujatha Weerakoon, Director General of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, speaking at the opening of the Sri Lanka Pavilion pointed out that the Government’s numerous trade facilitation initiatives and President Xi Jinping’s recent State Visit to Sri Lanka have created new opportunities for even closer cooperation between Sri Lanka and China, particularly in trade and urged Sri Lanka companies present to maximize the opportunity to enter the attractive Chinese market.
CISMEF, the largest SME Fair in the Asia Pacific region is both a window for Chinese SMEs to learn about the world, and a bridge for the products and services of international SMEs to enter the Chinese market. This year Mexico was the co-host country; there were 560 overseas participants from 21 countries; 2714 Chinese booths and around 200,000 visitors. CISMEF is the trade event with the largest international presence in China. It aims to promote the internationalization of small and medium-sized businesses and is an ideal platform for the exhibition of goods and services, the trade exchange and the productive cooperation, organized under the auspices of the Chinese government.
Mrs. Weerakoon, addressing the International SME Development Seminar & Roundtable Conference held on 12 October highlighted the attractive business environment in Sri Lanka; the significant increase of Sri Lanka’s exports from US$ 6,000 million in 2005 to US$ 11,000 million in 2013 and SME Development initiatives by the Sri Lankan Government, noting that many large well known Sri Lankan companies started off as SMEs.
The Sri Lanka trade delegation also participated in the Sri Lanka- China Jewellery Forum organized on 13 October by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou; the Guangdong Institute of Diamonds, Jade & Jewellery and the Chamber of Commerce of Coloured Gemstones & Jewellery of Guangdong as well as in the Guangdong- Sri Lanka Enterprises Business meeting organized on 14 October by the Consulate General and the Guangdong Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Successful B2B meetings were held as a key part of both these events. Mrs. Weerakoon met key officials of the Guangdong Commerce Department and the Guangdong CCPIT to explore further partnership opportunities in trade development.