COLOMBO, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- International investors plan to use Sri Lanka as an export market to access Europe, China, Japan and the U.S. and the crescent of markets around the Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement on Thursday.
Reading the statement in Parliament, Wickremesinghe said between the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, there exists a fast growing population currently of over 2 billion people.
He said, this combined market had the potential of 3 billion consumers by 2050 and Sri Lanka was the ideal gateway.
Wickremesinghe said that towards creating newer markets for the island's exports, Sri Lanka was also negotiating three trade agreements, the ETCA with India, and two FTAs with China and Singapore.
He further said in order to grow out of being a poor, backward country, Sri Lanka needed to focus on large scale FDIs and accelerate growth.
Towards this direction, Wickremesinghe said his government planned to create a positive investment climate that would generate jobs.
"Hurdles that stand in the way of achieving growth for business start-ups will be removed."
"Our target is to bring Sri Lanka within the top 70 nations of the Doing Business Index by 2020."
The prime minister further said that Sri Lanka had also created a Megapolis Development Authority to develop the entirety of the Western Megapolis, an urban area of over 8.5 million people.
A brand new financial city center that will be based at the newly reclaimed land development project alongside the Port of Colombo, was also being built.
Wickremesinghe further said that Sri Lanka was also seeing a staggering growth in tourist arrivals as its image as a safe and a friendly tourist destination was growing rapidly.
Major international airlines and hotel chains were once again entering the vibrant Sri Lankan market, he said.