To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many trade inquiries were handled by the British high commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the last 12 months; what expenditure his Department has incurred on the promotion of trade with the Maldives in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement.
I have been asked to reply.
The UKTI Trade and Investment team in Colombo handled 241 trade inquiries for the period from April 2007 to March 2008.
UKTI has neither a presence in the Maldives nor financial resources specifically dedicated to the promotion of trade with the islands. No change in this position is currently envisaged.
The British high commission in Colombo (Sri Lanka) however handles inquiries about trade with the Maldives on a reactive basis and companies interested in trading with the islands have access to background information via the UKTI website.