Letter: Britain's business role in Sri Lanka

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: James Gilsenan has got it wrong (Letters, 4 August) if he believes Sri Lanka is 'outside the world's hotspots'. Your better informed readers will understand our need for rapid, accurate political reporting from Colombo. They will know that there is a civil war there.

It is a pity Mr Gilsenan did not ask the High Commission about our help for British business. The companies that use our services to win contracts could also have assured him of our active support. One of the Foreign Office's main tasks is to help British exports. Only last week Douglas Hurd pressed the Sri Lankan foreign minister about a major British contract. So did I at a later meeting. Our High Commissioner has been working on this for months.

A few other corrections:

Britain exports more to Sri Lanka than does the United States.

We have 80 per cent of the tractor market in Sri Lanka. Your picture showed a British (Ford) tractor (not American as suggested).

The High Commission uses Land Rovers.

Sri Lanka is one of our target markets. We shall continue to work with British businessmen there to help them to succeed.

Yours sincerely,


Under-Secretary of State

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

London, SW1

6 August