A delegation consisting of officials and entrepreneurs from Yunnan province and Xiamen in China visited BOI in order to promote the participation of Sri Lankan state and private institutions at the 20th China International Fair for Trade and Investment (CIFIT) that will be held in Xiamen from 8-11 September 2018.
The BOI was represented by Executive Director (Investment Promotion) Prasanjith Wijayathilake, Director (Media and Publicity) Dilip S. Samarasinghe, Director (Investment Promotion) Nilupul De Silva and Senior Deputy Director (Promotion, Chinese Sector) Vipula Jayasinghe.
CIFIT is China’s major economic exposition which brings to China thousands of leaders in the economic sphere from all around the world. This year it is to be held in Xiamen, which is an important city in Southern China that has often been the venue for international events such as the BRICS Summit (3-5 September 2017). The BRIC Summit brings together the leaders of the giant emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The delegation informed the BOI officials that Xiamen has excellent links to the USA, Australia and Europe and a very strong MICE sector.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping stated, “Xiamen had become well-known for its innovation and entrepreneurship.” It is therefore a very good platform for Sri Lanka to promote trade and investment from China. The delegation also informed the BOI that CIFIT has a very large database of Chinese investors and Sri Lankan projects can be effectively promoted through the organisation’s database.
The delegation also stated that the Vice Minister of Commerce of China is actively promoting investments from China at the CIFIT summit.
Furthermore China will be using the Summit as a platform to celebrate three major events, namely the 40th anniversary of the opening of China’s economy, the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), and the BRICS Summit to be also held in Xiamen.
Yunnan province which was also represented at the meeting is important because it is considered in China as the Gateway to South East Asia, since it is border Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Its capital Kunming also has a close connection with South Asia and hosts a trade fair to promote links between China and South Asia. Yunnan which has a semi tropical climate, produces crops such as tea, coffee and rubber.
The leader of the delegation Shao Jing Yang, Deputy Director General of the Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Convention and Exhibition Affairs stated, “Sri Lanka is a friend of China and a very important country on the One Belt One Road scheme. Now there is a considerable degree of interaction between Sri Lanka and China and we can witness the extensive Chinese construction activities as well as investments in Sri Lanka.”
“CIFIT can play an important part in expanding Chinese investments to Sri Lanka and the BOI could promote CIFIT and bring Sri Lankan companies to the Fair. Sri Lanka can boost investment by participating in CIFIT. Also this can promote cooperation between enterprises in Sri Lanka and in China.”
She added, “We have a bilateral agreement between Sri Lanka and Yunnan Province. There is just one Sri Lankan investor in Yunnan at present and there are eight Yunnan Province investors in Sri Lanka. I believe the value of investment from Yunnan to Sri Lanka is currently $ 86 million. We will hold business to business matchmaking seminars during CIFIT. And we are confident that this will further encourage and foster economic cooperation between our two private sectors.”