Aug 20, Colombo: A high level delegation from Seychelles led by President James Alix Michel arrived in Colombo today for a three-day visit on an invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Rishad Bathiyutheen, Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce welcomed the Seychelles President and his 15-member delegation.
The high-level Seychelles delegation comprises among others, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Paul Adam, Minister of Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon, and Delhi based High Commissioner of Seychelles to Sri Lanka Waven William.
"This is a historic occasion for Sri Lanka-Seychelles bilateral trade and general relations. We have not received such a strong delegation from Seychelles in recent times," welcoming the delegation the Minister has said.
The Minister has expressed hope the visit will boost current trade volumes which is around US$ 2 million.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, in 2011, Sri Lanka's exports to Seychelles stood at US$830,000 while imports were at US$ 1.64 million.
Main products exported from Sri Lanka include tea and fishing vessels but the Ministry believes that gems and jewellery, furniture, boats and plastic products have export potential in the Seychelles market.
During his visit from August 20 -23, President Michel will meet his Sri Lankan counterpart President Mahinda Rajapaksa and hold bilateral discussions.
On Tuesday (21) President Michel will deliver a lecture on "The Role of the Small Island State in the Global Tapestry," at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations.
He is also scheduled to meet Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, and several other key leaders of the government.
Foreign Minister of Seychelles Jean Paul Adams visited Sri Lanka in April and held discussions with his counterpart Prof. Peiris on a multitude of issues that are of mutual interest to both countries.
During discussions with Minister Bathiyutheen, Adams revealed that Sri Lanka has become the shipbuilding hub for Seychelles.
Adams expressed his desire to start direct air links with Sri Lanka and establish a shipping hub in the country as Seychelles is using many ships build in Sri Lanka.
Seychelles and Sri Lanka have been working very closely as Members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC) and as members of the Commonwealth Group.