Dr. Sun Jun, Division of Asian Affairs of the Department of Commerce of Fujian Province and Pathfinder Foundation Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke sign the MOU while Associate Counsellate Wu Fel, Director Fujian Province Lechao Jiong, Executive Director Luxman Siriwardena, and Project Manager Ameera Arooz, Project Executive Sarah Hattiaratchi of the Pathfinder Foundation look on
The Pathfinder Foundation signed a MoU with the Department of Commerce, Fujian Province of the People’s Republic of China on 22 November. The MoU seeks to strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade, investment and economic relations between the Province and Sri Lanka. The MoU was signed by Dr. Sun Jun, Division of Asian Affairs of the Department of Commerce of Fujian Province and Pathfinder Foundation Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke.
Fujian Province has been in the forefront of the Chinese economy, which attracted $ 7.7 billion in foreign investment and exported $ 113 billion worth of goods in 2015. Consequently the province has piled up high GDP capita growth of $ 9,865 per annum for its 38.3 million population. Fujian Province, which has considerable economic interests in Southeast Asia, is now focusing on developing economic relations with countries in South Asia, an interesting development for Sri Lanka. The Fujian Province is also enthusiastically focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative of President Xi Jinping, to which Sri Lanka has given its fullest support from the very inception of the massive project.
Fujian, which has twice the landmass of Sri Lanka, is a highly industrialised Province in China, attracting numerous multinationals such as Boeing, Dell, GE, PepsiCo, Nestle etc. Many ethnic Chinese around the world, especially Southeast Asia, trace their ancestry to Fujian. Descendants of Fujian emigrants make up the predominant majority ethnic Chinese populations of the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
During the discussion with the four-member delegation, Pathfinder Foundation expressed its willingness to help promote trade and investment from Fujian to Sri Lanka and establish a Fujian Province Trade and Investment Promotion Centre in collaboration with Pathfinder Foundation. In this regard, both parties agreed to conduct further studies and continue discussions to achieve the objectives outlined in the MoU, the first of such an understanding to be reached by the Pathfinder Foundation with a State institution in China.