China’s top global roaming ambassador says Sri Lanka is ready to take off.
Daily FT: China’s President Xi Jinping’s top-most international roaming ambassador recently said Sri Lanka’s infrastructure facilities, human resources and other required facilities are in place and the country is all set to take off.
President of the Chinese Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Ambassador Lin Songtiyan said now what is needed to attract foreign investments is to enact necessary legal reforms.
Ambassador Songtiyan, who called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena together with the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong at the Prime Minister’s Office in Colombo last month, said Hambantota, Trincomalee and other economic zones as well as the Colombo Port City could attract global investors if necessary reforms are enacted and investor-friendly atmosphere is quickly established.
The country has all the ingredients such as a strategic location in the centre of the Indian Ocean, highways, ports and also skilled youth resources needed for leap forward in industrial and agricultural development. The Prime Minister assured the Chinese delegation that the top priority of the government is to establish necessary legislation to ensure speedy clearance of investment proposals submitted by foreign partners. He said Sri Lanka seeks investments in new areas such as solar power, wind power and other alternative energy resources.
Ambassador Songtiyan said solar power and wind power should be given top priority as new energy sources are essential to attract foreign investments.
“Once these are in place you can attract big investors not only from China but also from the USA, Europe, India and Japan,” he said.
Referring to Prime Minister Gunawardena’s virtual address to the International Conference on Hybrid Rice Varieties held in China recently, Ambassador Songtiyan said China is ready to set up a pilot project for hybrid rice cultivation in Sri Lanka.
Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayaka and senior Chinese foreign ministry officials were present on this occasion.
China has much interest in Sri Lanka with the country being prominently placed in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China is also one of the main development partners of Sri Lanka with many investments in the country’s development agenda as well as investments in several key economic sectors in the country. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have also helped attract the attention of Chinese businesses/investors towards Sri Lanka. The bilateral and trade ties between the two countries will be further strengthened once Sri Lanka and China finalize the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Chinese nationals have also been among the top tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka until the global pandemic caused travel restrictions. However, given the growth and business potential in Sri Lanka as well as China’s interest in the country, Chinese businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in the island. Chinese businesses could also look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with other countries in the region using the trade facilities and concessions enjoyed by Sri Lanka.
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