Basil urges more economic cooperation between SL and China

Friday, 3 September 2021 00:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • First high-level meeting held via video technology between SL-China parliamentary delegates
  • Fin. Min. urges Chinese delegates’ intervention to secure $ 1.5 b fiscal transfer between Central Banks of two countries
  • Says SL ready to facilitate establishment of regional HQ of China Development Bank in vicinity of Port City
  • Chinese official assures full support to SL in time of economic downturn due to COVID-19

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa this week requested members of a high-level Chinese delegation to look into the $ 1.5 billion fiscal transfer between the Central Banks of the two countries as a measure to

overcome the current economic challenge which is at a halt due to some areas of contention relating to the technicalities of the agreement.

He also requested them to facilitate the expansion of industries such as garments, tea and gems to enter the Chinese market under the Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement.

The Minister made the request at the first diplomatic meeting between high-level officials of the Parliaments of the two countries held via video technology on Tuesday.

The Chinese delegation was led by National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman and Speaker of Parliament Li Zhanshu while the Sri Lankan delegation was led by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Finance Minister Rajapaksa told the Chinese delegates that the Government was ready to facilitate the establishment of a regional headquarters of the China Development Bank in the vicinity of the Colombo Port City. He also sought China’s support for further investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa noted that Sri Lanka had received a number of projects including the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the Supreme Court Complex, the Expressway, the Hambantota Port, the Mattala Airport and the Colombo Port City due to the intervention of the Chinese Government.

The Chinese official in response assured that China would provide investment facilities for other investments, including the Colombo Port City Project.

He said Sri Lanka was a close friend of China and he would extend his fullest support to the Sri Lankan economy and was committed to furthering this discussion, adding that delegation visits between the two countries once the COVID situation had settled would help enhance mutual cooperation.

During the interaction, Speaker Abeywardena sought the assistance of the Government of China in overcoming the economic challenges posed by the current COVID situation to which the NPC Standing Committee Chairman assured full support under the guidance of President of China.

He highlighted that Sri Lanka-China bilateral relations had grown from strength to strength since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1957.

He also thanked the Government of China on behalf of all political parties in the Sri Lankan Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka for the unwavering support Sri Lanka had received in protection of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and promotion of economic prosperity, and in the sphere of international diplomacy.

He noted the support Sri Lanka had received from China in facing the COVID-19 pandemic and extended an invitation to a Chinese delegation to visit Sri Lanka.

Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris said that the support extended by China in overcoming the COVID challenge in Sri Lanka was commendable. He further said that China had always stood by Sri Lanka as a close friend in the international arena and that he looked forward to the continued support in the future as well.

NPC Standing Committee Secretary General Yang Zhenwu, NPC Constitution, Law Committee and NPC China-Sri Lanka Friendship Group Chairman Li Fei, NPC Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Zhang Yesui, NPC Standing Committee Deputy Secretary General Hu Xiaoli, NPC Standing Committee General Office Director – Research Office Song Rui, and Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Wu Jianghao (former Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka) representing the Chinese delegation were present at this occasion.

The members of the Sri Lanka delegation also included Deputy Speaker Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Leader of the House and Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, Secretary-General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake and Prof. Rohan Gunaratna.