Sept 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Belgium have agreed on the need for regular structured consultations at senior official level to further consolidate and coordinate the growing bilateral relation between the two countries.
Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana who is on an official visit to Belgium recently met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium in Brussels.
The two Ministers observing the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries, have discussed the opportunities to expand trade and investment in the context of the EU GSP+ facility, which was restored to Sri Lanka this year, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The ministers noted that a number of Belgium companies are currently engaged in the infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka and a growing number of tourists are arriving in Sri Lanka from Belgium.
A business delegation from Sri Lanka will visit Belgium early next year as a follow up to the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) visit a few months ago, Minister Marapana informed.
It was noted that Belgium is the 6th largest export market for Sri Lanka (total trade with Belgium last year amounted to USD 407.73 million) and that there are 31 BOI registered Belgium companies in Sri Lanka.
The Belgium Foreign Minister stated that they were ready to share with Sri Lanka their experience in the ongoing constitutional reform process. He also informed that Belgium was willing to offer diplomatic training to Sri Lanka Foreign Service Officers.
Foreign Minister Marapana briefed his Belgium counterpart on the progress Sri Lanka has made in bringing about reconciliation, strengthening good governance practices and respecting human rights.
Belgium Foreign Minister Reynders commended the Government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for the significant progress that has taken place in Sri Lanka in many areas since the election of the new Government.
Both Ministers were pleased to avail this opportunity to follow up on the bilateral discussions held between Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last October.
Foreign Minister Marapana invited his Belgium counterpart to visit Sri Lanka at an early opportunity.