Message from the President
Mr. Presantha Jayamaha
I want to start by thanking you for the opportunity provided to serve as the President of your chamber for the year 2019/20. As you may agree the past year has been a roller-coaster ride of uncharted economic and social conditions – I and my Board, were faced with leading the Chamber this year through the combined economic fallout of the tragic Easter attacks of April 2019, and the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic resultant global turndown; restricting all our usual member engagement, advocacy and social events.
The suddenness and swiftness with which the Covid-19 pandemic engulfed the entire globe, not only forced the world to shut down, but caused each and every one of us to re- evaluate every single aspect of our lives and livelihoods as we faced the unprecedented challenges of an unanticipated, unseen, and largely unknown enemy that gave no quarter.
Businesses and individuals across the globe were catapulted overnight into survival mode in a continuously evolving and volatile business environment with global supply chains grinding to a halt, consumer behavior undergoing a hard re-set and delivery platforms leaping years into the future; forcing organizations to evolve, adapt and innovate faster and more effectively than could have been anticipated.
Despite this unprecedented challenge and global lock-down, your team at AmCham Sri Lanka, worked tirelessly around the clock to bring you timely and relevant news, information and resources through the AmCham SL Bulletins, The Whatsapp Broadcast, Topic-in-Focus Publications and the Webinar Series, firmly establishing ourselves as your trusted source for timely and accurate information & resource- as your Knowledge Hub, as promised by our strategic vision for 2020+.
We believe these resources gave value to your continued partnership with us, and served to motivate yourselves and your teams, when most needed.
As we emerged from the center of the storm, one thing was starkly evident; recovery needs be strategic and sustainable – businesses and all their resources need to be re-purposed and re-aligned to meet the ever-evolving consumer demand, and supply chain challenges. A key opportunity identified through the results of the pandemic, is from the concern and discussion in relation to the negative impact of the lock-down on the Global Supply Chain, and what needs to be done to address this. Companies, and especially in this context, US companies are seeking to de-risk their supply chains by moving and/or expanding their production facilities to multiple countries rather than single locations. Sri Lanka’s geographic advantage and rich human capital with ability to cater to high-end knowledge services and high-tech manufacturing in the region, coupled with the fact that it is a beneficiary of the United States’ GSP Program, the largest and oldest preferential scheme of the USA, which allows duty concessions for goods from selected countries, presents a phenomenal opportunity for Sri Lanka.
I am pleased to let you know that the AmCham Sri Lanka, in collaboration with USAID have embarked on a research and analysis project that seeks to identify the opportunities available in this context, and to share empirical insights on harnessing them, under the auspices of the GoSL.
I look forward to sharing this initiative with you as we focus on our priorities of Trade & Investment in the year 2020/2021. The challenges of the year notwithstanding, I am pleased, and proud that through prudent spending and new initiatives, your team at the AmCham Sri Lanka has ended the year with improved fiscal and brand equity; we have relocated to the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, reduced operating costs and also managed to achieve one of the highest operating profits for the AmCham SL in the last 10 years. I look forward to this coming year in office, and hope to use it to promote Trade and Investment between the USA and Sri Lanka; but also, to highlight and encourage the activities of US businesses in Sri Lanka, and the intrinsic socio-economic benefit they bring to our Nation.
The AmCham SL, through its membership, represents some of the largest companies in the world – bringing world-class Technology, Education, Manufacturing and Services to Sri Lanka, and the USA is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner with trade between our countries standing at over $3Billion annually.
I ask that each of you here continue to engage and support the Chamber, helping up continue to improve, encourage and facilitate trade, investment and business relations between these two great nations. I wish you continued blessings & success.