“Celebration of Ceylon Spices” in the United States

WASHINGTON DC: The Embassy of Sri Lanka to the United States, in collaboration with the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), hosted a vibrant evening reception on 13 September 2022 at the Embassy premises in Washington D.C. to promote Sri Lanka as a key spice exporting country.

More than 100 guests including members of ASTA, senior officials representing key governmental institutions of the USA; the White House, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce, dignitaries from the International Monetary Board, World Bank Group and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) graced the event.

Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe, addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of boosting the export of exclusive Sri Lankan spices and encouraged more business to business collaborations between the two countries. He emphasised the importance of shifting towards more value added forms of spice related exports from Sri Lanka. He also hailed the recent assistance offered by the U.S government to Sri Lanka at a time of need.

The President of the ASTA, Pontus Mattsson, in his address, thanked the Ambassador and the staff for organizing such an extraordinary reception whilst emphasising that the members of ASTA will look to develop more business opportunities in Sri Lanka leading to progressively greater trade relations between the traders involved in the spice industry of the two countries. A descriptive video on the ancient origins of Ceylon spices and their cultural and economic significance, especially cinnamon and other main spices was played during the event promoting Sri Lanka as a much sought-after country of origin for quality spices.

A cultural dance recital showcased the talents of US students of the ‘Asanga Domask and the Serendib Dance Troupe’ which captivated the attendees. They performed several different styles of dance that depicted Sri Lanka’s rich traditional and folk heritage including a Kulu Natuma, Sellam Pittaniya, Perahera and Suramba Walliya. Chandrachooda, a dance performance choreographed by Medhini of the ‘The Natraj School of Indian Dance’ showcased the multicultural character of the country. Live rendition of Sinhala songs entertained guests throughout the event.

The Embassy took the opportunity to boost tourism in Sri Lanka by screening specially selected tourism video clips of pristine beaches, green mountain-valleys and promoted diverse tourist attractions ranging from adventure and wellness to wildlife.

Additionally, the attendees were able to enjoy a sumptuous Sri Lankan dinner buffet experiencing the flavours of Ceylon spices which was prepared by a Sri Lankan chef. There were two live stations serving freshly made hoppers and kottu roti to the amusement of the invitees. A tea corner offered flavoured tea in addition to pure Ceylon black tea. A variety of spices were also on display.

In his vote of thanks, Minister (Commercial), Charitha Yattogoda thanked ASTA for collaborating with the Embassy to host the event and expressing confidence in Sri Lanka durign these difficult times. He stressed that the current economic challenges faced by the country have not hampered Sri Lanka’s exports to the USA as well as to the world and noted that there has been a significant increase in spice exports.

A souvenir pack courtesy of the Spice Council of Sri Lanka along with tourism booklets and Ceylon Tea was gifted to each participant as a memento. The ASTA represents the U.S. spice industry in the global market that shapes public perception and demand towards the industry and advances the business interests of its members. The event was financially supported by ASTA further strengthening long-standing trade relations with exporters of Sri Lanka.


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