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* Sri Lanka, Estonia developing bilateral economic relations
Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 01:07 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Estonia are exploring opportunities to strengthen their bilateral relations, especially in trade and tourism and investments.

The high-level business delegation from Estonia led by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet arrived in Sri Lanka last week to explore business and investment opportunities in the island.

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen welcoming the 24- member Estonian delegation has said the first ever visit is a major development in trade cooperation.

Estonian Foreign Minister at a meeting with the Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa has said that Sri Lanka is an attractive economic partner for Estonia in the transit and logistics sector.

"Sri Lanka is one of South Asia's most important shipping countries and Estonia could serve as a gateway to European Union and Russian markets for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs," Paet has told Minister Rajapaksa.

Estonian Foreign Minister has opened a seminar for Estonian and Sri Lankan entrepreneurs in Colombo in co-operation with the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka.

As an EU member country, Estonia's strategic location can be used as a transport hub for Sri Lankan businesses to entere into European markets, Paet has noted.

"Estonia's strategically favourable location and the modern infrastructure and technology in our ports would allow Ski Lankan entrepreneurs to arrange transit more effectively here than in most other European ports," the Foreign Minister has said.

The combination of maritime, highway, and railway connections helps to save time and expenses and allows for access to both the European and Russian markets, he has pointed out.

During the meeting with Minister Rajapaksa, Estonia's Foreign Minister has invited Sri Lankan tourism authorities to promote the country's natural and scenic attractions at a tourism promotion exhibition in Tallinn in the second week of February every year with the participation of a number of different tourism organizations.

The total trade between Sri Lanka and Estonia stood at US$ 8.51 million in 2011 and 36 percent of the total value of Sri Lanka's exports to Estonia has been activated carbon.

The Estonian business delegation consisted of entrepreneurs from the logistics and IT sectors as well as producers of security and surveillance equipment, plastic manufacturers and business experts.

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