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Doing Business in Sri Lanka

Exporting to Sri Lanka

President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) two years ago, with the goal of doubling exports by 2014. U.S. embassies are committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports. In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Sri Lanka as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Getting Started

Most exporters find using local distributors an easy first step for entering the Sri Lankan market.  Generally, this is the best method to successfully compete domestically as local firms are well versed in local business practices.  Many foreign firms select local agents on the basis of financial stability and technical capability.  Due diligence on suitability of a potential agent/distributor is essential prior to entering the local market. 

Potential investors should first initiate discussions with the Board of Investment (BOI) prior to establishing a company or a liaison office in Sri Lanka. One-hundred-percent foreign ownership is allowed with certain exceptions. The list of the regulated areas where foreign ownership is limited or requires approval of the statutory agencies can be obtained from BOI 

Visit the page on Sri Lanka to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.

The Library Includes: 

  • Country Commercial Guide for Sri Lanka
  • Investment Climate Report 
  • The International Partner Search (IPS), International Company Profile (ICP) and Gold Key services provided by the Department of Commerce are available through the Embassy for U.S. companies looking to appoint a local representative in Sri Lanka.  Interested companies should contact the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Centers in their respective states.  Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Sri Lanka . U.S. Commercial Service (FCS) has many services to help US exporters interested in entering into the Sri Lankan market.

Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs).  Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Contact in-country business support organizations such as the
American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce  
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka

Investing in Sri Lanka: Getting Started

This section provides information for current and potential investors in Sri Lanka

Potential investors: Getting Started. 

If you are considering investment in Sri Lanka here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Visit host country resources
  • Contact local U.S. business support organizations

Subscribe to our Embassy Facebook page  or Twitter feed

Current investors: Staying Connected.

If you are a current U.S. investor in Sri Lanka, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Sri Lanka, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Add us to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed
  • Subscribe to our Embassy Facebook page or Twitter feed
  • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise

Working in "Sri Lanka"

In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.

Business Visas

For information on obtaining a business visa visit the Sri Lankan Embassy, Washginton, D.C. or the  Department of Immigration and Emigration

Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for Sri Lanka


The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information on the FCPA:  

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here:

Contact us

  • Phone:+94 (11)249-8500
    Fax:+94 (11) 243-7345

    Head, Economic and Commercial Affairs
    Constantinos Nicolaidis 

    Economic and Commercial Attaché
    William Humnicky

    Economic Officer
    Peter Zirnite

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  • BUSINESSUSA.GOV is the U.S. Government's official web portal to support business start-ups, growth, financing, and exporting.