Indian economic development model recommended for SL

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could follow the Indian economic development model because both countries have similarities. India being in the same region, maintained 10 per cent growth well over ten years, newly appointed Mexican ambassador to Sri Lanka Federico Salas Lofte said.

“Sri Lanka has the potential to boost tourism and trade with Mexico, with exports from the island outweighing imports by a big margin, ambassador Federico Salas Lotfe told a round table media conference recently at Kingsbury Hotel Colombo.

A senior career diplomat, the ambassador presented his credentials to President Ranil Wickremesinghe and also met Prime Minister Dinesh Gunewardena, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry and Trade Minister Nalin Fernando.

Ambassador Salas Lotfe added: ‘At present Sri Lanka is going through a major economic crisis and we will promote people- to- people contact with Mexico, grow existing trade links and look at new avenues for additional products from Mexico and vice versa.

‘Sri Lanka had exported US $ 220 million worth of goods to Mexico in 2021, up 53 per cent, while importing only US $ 13 million, mainly medical equipment.’

Ambassador Salas had met with the Ceylon Chamber Chamber of Commerce and members of the local business community. A two-way exchange of trade delegations and close engagement of trade Chambers of the two countries were planned, he added.

Sri Lanka’s top export to Mexico was cinnamon. In 2021, cinnamon exports were $ 112 million in value and it was an ingredient in the internationally popular Mexican food.

Ambassador Salas planned to have a food promotion in Colombo, with the help of Mohan Pandithage, the Honorary Consul of Mexico in Colombo and also intended to work with the University Grants Commission in granting scholarships to Sri Lankan students to study in his country.

There was also potential to grow tourism between the two countries and Mexico has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Salas added.

Ambassador Salas, who is based in Delhi, got many inquiries about visiting Sri Lanka. During the Covid pandemic about 80 to 90 Mexicans were in Sri Lanka who needed help getting back home, he said.

Mexico also has over two dozen World Heritage Sites dating back to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations as well as Spanish colonial sites. Mexican food itself was an intangible UNESCO designated world heritage.

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