Sri Lanka and China are to sign a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement shortly in a bid to further enhance strong bilateral ties currently being enjoyed.
This matter was discussed when the new Ambassador to People’s Republic of China Wu Jianghao paid a courtesy call on Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa last week.
“The Minister and the Ambassador reviewed the present status of trade and economic relations and the Ambassador suggested that a comprehensive plan on economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and China should be prepared to be signed by the leaders of the two countries,” the Economic Development Mini-stry said in a statement following the meeting.
The Ambassador had also said that many Chinese investors were interested in investing in Sri Lanka and establishing trade and commercial ventures here.
The Minister and Ambassador agreed to have Sri Lankan days in Beijing, Shanghai and Canton in order to carry out an awareness drive on tourism, investment and commodities such as tea and spices. Pharmaceutical, apparel and textile industry, tourism, real estate development and food security systems for other countries were some of the fields identified for Chinese investment at the discussion.
Ambassador Jianghao invited Rajapaksa to visit China with a trade and economic delegation, adding that he would arrange a visit by Chinese investors and traders to Sri Lanka since many Chinese entrepreneurs had frequently expressed interest in Sri Lanka.
At the outset of the discussion, Rajapaksa had welcomed the new Ambassador and thanked the Chinese Government and people for the generous support extended to Sri Lanka throughout the difficult and good periods during the longstanding friendship between the two countries.
“China stood with Sri Lanka during conflict time as well as the peace time. China was a true friend of Sri Lanka. She didn’t want to act as a monitor but always worked as a partner and didn’t interfere in the country’s affairs. China didn’t bring unnecessary pressure on Sri Lanka but always stood for Sri Lanka in the international arena,” he said.
“Immediately after the end of terrorism China helped Sri Lanka initiate new big development projects. That was the first move for post-conflict economic development. The BMICH, Supreme Court Complex and Nelum Pokuna Performing Arts Complex stand as monuments of the friendship between the two countries. China was involved with many development projects in Sri Lanka with her own funds extended to Sri Lanka as development assistance but some projects were offered to China as a result of international bidding,” he added.
Jianghao said China would never forget the help extended by Sri Lanka at some critical occasions, noting that the relationship between the two countries started 1,600 years ago and had been strengthened since then day by day. Sri Lanka signed the rubber and rice pact when other countries had stopped selling rubber to China.