Making the 2017 budget speech in Parliament today, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said Sri Lanka will look to have a strong role in the economic initiative of the Chinese Government.
He said that Sri Lanka is already working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and several other countries.
China has been playing a crucial role over the years in the development of Sri Lanka, particularly after a 30 year war between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE ended in 2009.
The Chinese Government has been involved in several projects in the country, including in constructing new highways, a new airport and port and buildings.
During talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Maithripala Sirisena in Goa, India last month, President Xi expressed appreciation for Sri Lanka’s support and active participation in the Belt and Road construction.
He called on the two sides to deepen cooperation in the sectors of trade, port operation, infrastructure construction, port-vicinity industrial parks, production capacity and people’s livelihood.
He had said the two sides should continue to advance their mega cooperative projects and also voiced hope that the two sides will make good preparations for the activities celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and encourage more exchanges among all sectors of society, including local affairs, Buddhist community, youth, think-tanks and media.
The Chinese President had also suggested the two sides expand cooperation in the fields of tourism, ocean, security and disaster preparedness and mitigation. (Colombo Gazette)