Jordan, February 4, 2018
'Several deals in pipeline to further boost Sri Lankan-Jordanian ties'

Several memoranda of understanding (MoU) are expected to be signed between Sri Lanka and Jordan this year to boost ties in various areas including business and security, Sri Lankan Ambassador Abdul Latiff Lafeer said on Saturday.

Sri Lanka and Jordan, which established diplomatic ties in 1965, are scheduled to sign several MoUs including one between the Jordan Chamber of Commerce and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and another one on transfer of prisoners, the ambassador said in an interview with The Jordan Times on the occasion of the Sri Lankan national day, marked by the embassy on Sunday.

'The deals that are in the pipeline this year will seek to further boost ties in various areas and will build on successes achieved in 2017 and previous years,' the ambassador added.

Another agreement will be signed between the two countries in the field of customs, he continued, noting that the two sides will also sign MoUs in the field of culture, tourism and archaeology and defence, among other areas.

According to the ambassador, 2017 witnessed major developments in the history of ties between the two countries as the number of Sri Lankan investments in the Kingdom increased, Jordanian investments in Sri Lanka started and there was an increase in numbers of tourists and trade exchange.

Sri Lanka's investments in Jordan rose from around $30 million to $40 million in 2017 as new garment factories opened in Jordan with the aim of benefiting from the free trade agreements signed with Jordan and accessing markets in the region, the Sri Lankan diplomat said.

In 2017, trade exchange reached around $45 million, witnessing a slight increase compared to 2016, he continued.

On tourism, some 7,000 Jordanians visited Sri Lanka last year, increasing by around 10 per cent compared to the previous year.

According to the ambassador, a delegation of Hajj and Umra tour operators from Sri Lanka are currently on a visit to the Kingdom to explore cooperation opportunities with their counterparts, which will help increase the number of Sri Lankans coming to Jordan and increase the time they spend in Jordan while en route to perform Hajj and umra.

'In 2017, there was intensive cooperation between Jordan and Sri Lanka, especially in the field of tourism and business and we call for more cooperation and increased exchanges as the potential remains huge,' Latiff Lafeer said.

According to the ambassador, Jordanian investments in the field of services and intellectual property in Sri Lanka have started.

'Our message to the Jordanian businesspeople is that there are many opportunities to be tapped in Sri Lanka,' he said, adding that a delegation of Jordanian businesspeople is expected to visit Sri Lanka in the first half of this year to explore cooperation in various areas.

'As we celebrate our national day on Sunday, we stress our keenness on continued cooperation with Jordan and determination to facilitate all investments and businesses and boost relations in all arenas,' said the Sri Lankan diplomat.

The ambassador noted that ChannaUpuli Dance Troupe will perform during the national day celebration on Sunday.