By Maleesha Sulthanagoda
Continuing progress in all sectors of the Sri Lankan economy makes the country’s future bright, said Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan at the 17th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka-China Business Council recently.
He said that the country has made significant progress in making the economy more stable and strong. The Ambassador also noted that Sri Lankan products have potential to succeed in the huge Chinese market.
“In recent times, rapid progress has been made in Sri Lankan structural construction and economic development. Continuing progress makes the future of Sri Lanka bright. China is the second largest economy in the world, there is a big market in China for Sri Lankan products. Sri Lanka business need to capitalise on this opportunity,” said the Ambassador.
Ambassador Xueyuan also shed light on the value of bilateral trade between the two counties. He also said that Sri Lankan is an important ally to China trade wise.
“The value of bilateral trade between the two countries are important and in the future, we hope to make it more fruitful.The value of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and China in 2017 has reached $4.4 billion and about 270,000 tourists have come in to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka being situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean has made it a very beneficial ally for China. It is trade, tourism, and investment hub,” Ambassador Xueyuan added.
The newly reappointed Sri Lanka-China Business Council President YasanthaAbeykoone said that the main purpose of establishing a business council was to strengthen ties between the two countries. He also mentioned the current target outline for the year 2018.
“The Sri Lanka-China Business Council aims to increase trade, investment, services, and tourism between the two countries. Sri Lanka is currently targeting to increase 50% in exports within the year. We are also hopeful of attracting a record of $2.75 billion foreign direct investments (FDI) by the end of 2018,” he said.
The President noted that the Council was currently in talks with Export Development Board (EDB) and Board of Investment (BOI) to increase the FDI into Sri Lanka.
“We are also thinking of ways to facilitate more growth in the context of ties between Sri Lanka and China. We are cohesively working with the EDB and BOI to orchestrate more trade and investment opportunities. During the next five years, China is expecting to import products and services valued at more than $10 billion, which also provides a historic opportunity for enterprises across the world to enter the huge Chinese market,” he added.
He also said gave some particulars on investment promotion events that will be organised in the future. According to Abeykoone, these events are imperative in broadening bilateral trade between the two nations.
“The investment promotion events organised in China this year such as China ASEAN Expo and China International Import Expo will be open to enterprises across the world. These events will be good platforms for broadening bilateral trade cooperation for trade and investment between countries. It is imperative the business community in Sri Lanka looks to capitalise on these types of opportunities, which will entail further economic growth,” President Abeykoone stated.
Abeykoone in his remarks gave some insights on what the Sri Lankan business community needed to learn from their Chinese counterparts in terms of principles and how the Council strived to achieve this.
“China’s economy continuously spurs growth. The need to persevere and continuously grow is one of the principles we can learn from China. Economic growth is the most fundamental requirement for a high performing economy. Through growth the economy increase its capacity to sustain and achieve all the needs of the public. The past year we had different delegates coming in from China, conducted seminars to educate and strengthen ties between the two countries and much more,” he concluded.
Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe