Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, the Minister for Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang inspected the port in Hambantota.
Speaking to reporters at the port, Amunugama said that the Government is keen on developing the port which was constructed with Chinese assistance and opened in 2010.
The government, which was in the opposition when the port was declared open, says it wants to make the port more profitable.
Amunugama said that China will open 150 factories in Hambantota in an investment zone which will help solve unemployment in the area.
“We need to urgently look at the land for the investment zone, as well as water and electricity,” Amunugama said.
The minister said that once the projects get off the ground the entire area will see a massive change.
Earlier this week Samarawickrama said that Sri Lanka and China hope to conclude discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by March 2017.
He said that a Chinese Government delegation is due in the county next week to have further discussions on the deal.
The Minister said that the proposed FTA mainly looks at the apparel sector, tea, gem and jewelry, rubber, coconut and spices.
Samarawickrama also said that talks were underway to establish a special investment zone in which Chinese investors will be allocated 15,000 acres of land. (Colombo Gazette)