PM, Swiss Ambassador discuss tourism, investment, COVID-19 assistance
Calling on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo yesterday morning, the Amabassador to Switzerland in Colombo Dominik Furgler discussed a number of areas to further cooperation between the two countries, including investment, exports, tourism and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ambassador commended the manner in which the Government is responding to the Coronavirus outbreak by publishing clear rules and enforcing them.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that while lockdowns and health precautions can be difficult on everyone, sometimes it’s necessary to keep people safe. “I admire the way you deal with the COVID,” Ambassador Furgler said. “I feel safer this way.”To contribute to the Government’s efforts to contain the outbreak, the Swiss Government is providing assistance to Sri Lanka with equipment which would enable faster PCR tests at the airport. This is also a part of collaboration to try to revive tourism toSri Lanka once the situation improves. Towards that end, the Swiss Government has also provided technical assistance to the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management to upgrade infrastructure, provide training and develop the curriculum.
The two delegations also discussed investments and exports. With economic development being a priority of the Government, the Ambassador said he will work on bringing in more Swiss investments. Switzerland is currently the 8th largest investor in Sri Lanka. With regard to exports, the delegations discussed ways in which Sri Lanka can further diversify export product range to Switzerland to reap greater benefits from the Swiss GSP+ facility. Currently, major exports from Sri Lanka to Switzerland include apparel, black tea, seafood, and gems and jewellery.