Sri Lanka says FTA talks with China progressing smoothly

Sri Lanka on Friday said that talks on a Free Trade Agreement with China (FTA) were progressing smoothly.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said that once the proposed FTA with China is completed the trade levels between both countries will grow stronger.

The Minister was speaking after opening the 2018 Guanxhi Product Exhibition and China Guanxhi Brands Silk Road series in Colombo.

“Sri Lanka is considered as a destination in the One Belt One Road (OBOR). Sri Lanka’s trade with China has been on a growing trend.  Last year’s China Sri Lanka total bilateral trade was at $ 4.4 billion. This is a huge, 46% increase in comparison to trade total five years ago at USD 3 billion in 2013. With the completion of the proposed FTA with China, I am sure that these trade levels will grow in strength. As for the FTA, I am pleased to say that the consultations are progressing smoothly,” he said.

The Minister also said that China has become a major Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) provider to Sri Lanka. In 2017, China provided more than 32% of Sri Lanka’s annual FDI.

Chinese investments are mainly in infrastructure projects and strategic development projects in Sri Lanka.

“I am sure that with this week’ announcement that China will be providing US $ one Billon for our central expressway project China’s leading position as a major development partner of Sri Lanka is re-affirmed again,” he said.

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s (GZAR) Director of Department of Commerce  Diao Weihong said that Sri Lanka is a hub in OBOR.

He said that over the last few years the China-Sri Lanka strategic partnership has growing and both countries are closer than ever before. (Colombo Gazette)