We must not forget that the Russian Federation was amongst the first countries to assist Sri Lanka in establishing its industrial base, and at that time the three industrial projects, Ceylon Steel Corporation, along with Ceylon Tyre Corporation and Ceylon Sugar Corporation, were established in Sri Lanka with the assistance of Soviet Union, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said in Parliament recently.
He was speaking at the revival meeting of the Russian-Sri Lankan Parliamentary Friendship Association for the ninth Parliament held recently in Parliament.
The meeting was held under the patronage of Hon. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, H.E. the Ambassador of Russian Federation in Sri Lanka Yury Materiy, and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake and was attended by Ministers, State Ministers and Members of Parliament.
The Speaker further said that ‘’The very first Sri Lanka – Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association was inaugurated on the 9th October 1998, and the most Senior Parliamentarian, at the moment in the country, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister and the then Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development was elected as the first President of this Association.’’
“Sri Lanka imports a large number of items from Russia. On the other hand, Russia is a very valuable importer of Sri Lanka. Russia has become the single largest buyer of Ceylon tea for several years. Since 01st January 2010, Russian Generalized Scheme of Preferences – GSP – scheme has been granting preferential tariffs to certain developing countries and Sri Lanka has been a beneficiary country of this scheme. Under the GSP of Russian Federation, Sri Lanka enjoys 25 per cent of tariff reduction from the current customs duty rate’’ The Speaker added.
At this meeting, State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Susil Premajayantha, was elected as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association.
Member of Parliament Mr. Sagara Kariyawasam, was elected as the new Secretary and MPs Mohamed Muzammil, Aravind Kumar and Dr. Upul Galappaththi were elected as the vice presidents.
In addition, MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero was elected as the Treasurer and MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala was elected as the Assistant Secretary.