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Sri Lanka to experience rapid growth :

Chinese delegation mulls dedicated zone for investors

Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, briefed an investment delegation from Ningbo, Cixi Province on the potential Sri Lanka offers as an investment destination.

Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Anura Priyadharshana Yapa exchanges mementos with Senior Advisor of the Cixi People’s Municipal Government Hong Jiaxiang at the BOI Investment Forum.

The delegation was headed by Senior Advisor of the Cixi People’s Municipal Government Hong Jiaxiang, and his high-powered investment delegation from the City of Ningbo, in the Cixi Province of the People’s Republic of China.

The six-man delegation is spending a few days in Sri Lanka to explore the possibility of establishing a dedicated zone for Chinese investors, possibly in the Kurunegala district or in the Southern part of the island.

Minister Yapa said that since Sri Lanka had succeeded in overcoming her security problem, the country was likely to soon attract a higher quantum of investment. The security problem has in the past damaged Sri Lanka’s image worldwide. Investments originating from friendly countries such as China were welcome.

Sri Lanka in the near future was likely to experience rapid growth and enjoy enhanced investor confidence.

Minister Yapa said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had in his address to the Parliament and the nation stressed the importance of rebuilding the national economy.

The Minister said that the economic front has to be won in the same way as Sri Lanka had on the battlefront and here investment had a pivotal role to play. This would lead to Sri Lanka enhancing her position in the global economy.

Through investment, which he described as a “truly modernizing force”, Sri Lanka’s economy would be revived thanks to job creation, enhanced export earnings and technology transfers. China can become a catalyst to Sri Lanka’s economic growth by investing in the local economy.

China and Sri Lanka have had commercial and diplomatic relations since the earliest of times.

This had lead to a great understanding on the part of each nation for the concerns and aspirations of the other. There were already a number of significant Chinese investments in the country in the field of infrastructure including the Norochcholai power plant that will meet Sri Lanka’s power and energy requirements when it is completed in 2010.

In addition the Hambantota Port, also built by Chinese enterprises, will firmly anchor Sri Lanka into the global trading economy. This new port will play an important part towards the creation of a new economic hub in the southern tip of the island, as it is at the crossroads of the major shipping lines of the Indian Ocean.

Chinese enterprises have also expressed interest in offshore oil exploration. Sri Lanka has awarded one block to China to begin prospecting for oil off her coast. Another potential area of co-operation includes the development of the Colombo Airport Road. There have thus been many meetings and exchanges between the Governments and private sectors of Sri Lanka and of China in recent months.

Many Chinese business delegations have visited Sri Lanka and the latest was a large group of entrepreneurs in the area of light industries.

Their visit was very successful and culminated in further meetings and the signing of a number of joint ventures.

Much of this interest and activity can be attributed to meetings held at the highest levels of Government such as President Rajapaksa’s state visit to China in 2007 to honour 50 years of Sino-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations.

At this event, the Board of Investment (BOI) organized in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou investment fora, highlighting the country’s potential. Many Sri Lankan entrepreneurs from leading companies thus had opportunities to meet their counterparts from the Chinese private sector and discuss matters pertaining to trade and joint ventures.



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