Special Economic Zone by China
• Sri Lanka has decided to allot a 55-sq-km expanse of land to China for a special economic zone, the country’s embassy in Beijing said on Friday.
• The SEZ, which fits in with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will transform Sri Lanka into an international hub and improve people’s livelihoods, experts say.
• After it is developed, this area will generate 1 million jobs
• A Chinese delegation will head to Sri Lanka next week to discuss the SEZ.
“The Chinese have asked for 55 sq km of land in the Hambantota area of Southern Province for their zone, and we are in the process of acquiring the land,” Malik Samarawickrama, the Sri Lankan minister for international trade and strategic development, was quoted as saying.
“After it is developed, this area will generate 1 million jobs,” he said. Samarawickrama confirmed that India will also set up an SEZ for pharmaceutical and auto-parts industries in Sri Lanka, but its location has yet to be finalized.
Li Xiangyang, president of the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: “Sri Lanka is a crucial node to push forward the Belt Road Initiative, given its strategic position in the South Asian region, and given the lesser interest India has shown in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Moreover, the SEZ makes perfect sense, as Sri Lanka has the ambition to regain its status as the hub of the Indian Ocean and needs to acquire technologies and skills through foreign investments.
“China, on the other hand, is refining its methods by setting up a SEZ to help the local people benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative, instead of just building infrastructure such as roads, ports and power plants.”
“By benefiting local people, Beijing could ensure its profits regardless of how a country’s government may change,” Li added.
Jia Duqiang, a senior Southeast Asian studies researcher at CASS said China’s political relations with Sri Lanka are returning to normal.
Hambantota is the main town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka.
This underdeveloped area was hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and is undergoing a number of major development projects including the construction of a new Sea Port and International Airport.
These projects and others such as Hambantota Cricket Stadium are said to form part of the government’s plan to transform Hambantota into the 2nd major urban hub of Sri Lanka, away from Colombo.
Hambantota District has a population of 596,617 (2011) of whom 96% are considered rural residents. Some 13.4% of the labor force of 244,847 is unemployed — in comparison to the national average of 8.3%. Of those employed, 42.2% are in the agricultural sector, 23.3% in industry with the remaining 34.5% working in the services sector.
Allocating 55-sq-km expanse of land to China for a Special Economic Zone will undoubtedly help the people of Hambantota find employment and revive the regional economy whilst improving their lifestyles on a wider scope.
To know more about the Chinese SEZ, talk to the biz-friendly OSL Team today.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/02082016/Z-4|