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Cablegate: Bfif Fy04 Proposals for Sri Lanka and the Maldives

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000131

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/CBA:DWINSTEAD
DOC FOR ITA:ABENAISSA

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: BEXP ABUD ETRD EINV BTIO CE MV ECONOMICS
SUBJECT: BFIF FY04 PROPOSALS FOR SRI LANKA AND THE MALDIVES

REF: 03 STATE 347748

1. BFIF funds are critical for Post to carry out
Commercial activities in two distant, but substantial
markets with strong potential but little US
penetration. Post submits the following projects for
consideration for FY04 funding. The proposals are
listed in priority order under each country heading.

Maldives
========
Priority 1:
American Fair 2004 Trade and Catalog Show:
------------------------------------------
2. The US is the only country to sponsor an annual
trade event in the Maldives. Each year it has been
bigger and more successful with the number of
attendees increasing, and a higher public profile.
Last year, a greater number of resort owners and
company directors spent significant time in
discussions with exhibitors and studying the
catalogs. A small island nation, the Maldives
imports all its needs for residents (especially
consumer and construction goods) and tourists (food,
beverages, sports and transportation). Building on
the Asia New Products Catalog Show, Post invites US
companies to exhibit, which generates more interest,
and business, especially for companies highlighting
environmentally friendly technologies, a featured and
popular sector.

3. In May, Post reserves the space, and solicits
firms to participate. Booth construction begins in
July, and advertising in August for a three day
September show. Expected outcomes include sales or
projects for the companies represented. Results for
firms sending catalogs is harder to measure, but Post
is confident there are increased sales, judging by
the time spent by participants studying the catalogs
and taking notes. Extra copies of the catalogs are
also left with the local Chamber of Commerce for
future use.

4. Estimated costs are: facilities and booth
construction: $5,000, advertising: $1,500, shipping:
$2,000, travel $1,500, administration, equipment,
display products: $1,000. Total: $11,000. This
project is mentioned in the FY04 MPP goal, which
includes expanded exposure to, and adoption of, US
energy efficient and environmentally friendly
technologies.

5. In 2003, FAS New Delhi participated in the Trade
Show, and helped to support it. Post expects FAS
will again participate as well as promote US food
exporters' participation. Post does provide
commercial services and, just in 2003, started to
charge fees. These will be used to support
representational expenses of the opening ceremonies.

6. Post relies on its partner Post, Chennai, as well
as FCS New Delhi for guidance and information.
Success for the trade fair will be judged by sales or
contracts for companies present, the number of
visitors, and amount of time spent by them in
discussion or catalog research. Post maintains
contact with exhibitors to follow up on show results.

Priority 2: Sectoral Analysis
-----------------------------
7. The Maldivian government is engaged in a multi-
year expansion/reclamation/development plan, which
requires extensive construction work. There is
potential for contracts for industrial, commercial
and residential construction and related consulting,
project work, services, equipment and supplies. Few
US firms are aware of these opportunities, and a
sectoral study will give details sufficient for firms
to evaluate the market. This information would be
distributed through IMI reports, in the Country
Commercial Guide, to regional Amchams and to US firms
operating in the region. The study would be
completed within four months with an estimated cost
of $7,000. Success would be judged by level of
interest generated by US firms, and contacts awarded.

Sri Lanka
=========
Priority 1: US Yarn/Textile Trade Show
--------------------------------------
8. Sri Lanka's substantial garment manufacturing
industry imports approximately $1 billion of textiles
annually, mainly from Asian sources. There is
potential for US firms to supply a greater portion of
that total. A delegation from the industry plans to
visit the southeastern US in late winter to explore
opportunities to source yarn and/or fabrics from US
suppliers. To build on this effort, Post would
organize a trade show of approximately 10 US
companies in June to generate sales to the Sri Lankan
market. The garment manufacturers association has
given its initial agreement to cover hotel costs. The
travelers would pay for their own transportation.

9. Post would provide the advertising, venue, and
build exhibition booths. Estimated costs are: hall
and booths: $1,000, advertising: $3,000, local
transport: $700, invitations: $300, total: $5,000.
Results would be measured by partnerships formed and
sales made. This is included in FY04 MPP Goal of
Expanding US Exports - promoting US industry to top
Sri Lankan sectors, and supporting moves toward an
FTA.

Priority 2: Sectoral Analyses
-----------------------------
10. With the two-year old ceasefire holding and the
prospects for lasting peace good, substantial donor
resources for infrastructure projects and strong
growth in new sectors, trade and investment
opportunities for US firms in Sri Lanka have
increased dramatically in the past two years.
Professional analyses of sectors with the greatest
potential are critical to inform Econoffs, who will
include the information in reports, the CCG,
briefings for US firms, and regional outreach
efforts. Sectors which hold the greatest potential
are tourism, banking and finance, telecom and
infrastructure.

11. Post would hire a qualified local to perform
selected studies over 6 months. Results would be
quality products useful for Embassy and private
sector information. This is in FY04 MPP Goal,
Expansion of US Exports - identify top sectors for
investments, and promotion of opportunities to US
industry. Estimated cost is $8,000.

12. These proposals have the full support of the
Ambassador who sees expansion of US commercial
activities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives as one of
his highest priorities. Contact officer for all
projects is Teresa Manlowe, Econ/Comm Officer, who is
available at ManloweTL@state.gov. Post appreciates
the support is has received in the past and looks
forward to continuing its commercial plans with BFIF
funds.

Lunstead

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