Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister seeks more economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and China
Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has requested members of a high-level Chinese delegation to facilitate the expansion of industries such as garments, tea and gems to enter the Chinese market under the Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement.
Rajapaksa has also requested the Chinese delegation to look into the US$ 1.5 billion fiscal transfer between the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and China Development Bank that has hit a stumbling block due to some technical issues in the agreement.
The Minister has reportedly made these requests at the first diplomatic meeting between high-level officials of the Parliaments of the two countries held via video technology recently.
The Chinese delegation was led by National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman and Speaker of Parliament Li Zhanshu while the Sri Lankan delegation was led by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
The Finance Minister has told the Chinese delegates that the Government was ready to facilitate the establishment of a regional headquarters of the China Development Bank in the vicinity of the Colombo Port City.
Rajapaksa has also sought China’s support for further investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka and China enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties. China is also one of Sri Lanka’s key development partners while the island has been prominently placed in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is in this backdrop that Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister has further sought economic cooperation with China. Sri Lanka’s ongoing development programme has opened up many business/investment opportunities in the country. The island is also emerging as a business destination in the South Asian region and the ease of doing business environment in the country as well ad the trade agreements and concessions enjoyed by Sri Lanka makes it an ideal business opportunity. Chinese businesses/investors could therefore explore opportunities in Sri Lanka while also looking at forming partnerships and joint ventures with local businesses to engage with other countries in the region.
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