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Make S Asia-China Business Forum a long-term programme - PM

Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said that the South Asia-China Business forum should be made a long-term programme.

“I firmly believe that a forum of this nature should create opportunities to promote greater cross border investments, support to increase South Asia exports to China and serve as a channel to China-South Asia economic integration,” the Prime Minister said yesterday at the opening of the Sixth South Asia-China Business Forum.

Prime Minister Jayaratne also said that history reveals that there had been historical trading ties between China and South Asia, which had stood the test of time over many centuries.

“The business forums of this nature would contribute to the enhancement of these historical trade and economic ties,” he said.

“This year’s Business Forum, which is held on the theme Trade and investment between China and South Asia is most appropriate in the background of ever increasing shared trust in political affairs and development of economic and trade corporation between China and South-Asian countries,” the Premier said.

”The forum is an important mechanism established between Chinese and South Asian industrial and commercial circles, to strengthen mutual cooperation, to secure win-win results. In that respect, it is a most fitting theme for the Forum,” he said.

”This event provides special meaning because on one hand, South-Asia is strongly chasing the positive development of the South-Asian Free Trade Area. On the other hand, this cooperation will lay a solid foundation for the long-term plan of establishing the China-South Asia Free Trade Area.

In this regard, this forum will further enhance the South Asia-China Strategic Partnership. It is my fervent wish that the South Asia-China Business Forum should be made a long-term programme,” he said.

”The forum provided the much needed confidence to both China and South Asia to work together towards the regional prosperity and cooperation. We also have to take note of certain difficulties and problems that exist in South Asia-China trade and economic cooperation. Mutual understanding and support from the governments and business communities of both South-Asia and China are required to address these difficulties and problems,” he said.

Prime Minister Jayaratne proposed that China and South-Asia should take positive measures in the following areas, to speed up our cooperation and sort out whatever problems that may arise.

”Firstly, governments of South-Asia and China should work out appropriate economic and trade policies, to further support and promote regional economic and trade cooperation.

”Secondly, Chambers of Commerce and Business Communities of China and South Asia should strengthen and promote mutual understanding and trust. This should be done through holding seminars, business visits, and trade fairs, etc.

”Thirdly, we should extend mutual cooperation in various other fields, such as promoting two-way investment, strengthening technical cooperation, tourism promotion, etc.

”The flagship projects, that have been recently launched with the assistance of China namely Norochcholai Coal-Powered Power Project, Hambantota Port, Maththala Airport would give big boost to out economy.

”Among other outstanding donations to Sri Lanka, the BMICH, Superior Court Complex and performing Art Theatre Colombo stand as visible symbols of this strong friendship,” he said.

The Prime Minister on a personal note said he was a member of the delegation that accompanied former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who visited China in the late 1960s on the invitation of the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong.

”It was at this meeting with the Chinese leader that the proposal for the construction of an international conference centre in the memory of Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike was discussed and finalized.

I was thus a proud witness to the birth of BMICH. May I also mention herewith some pride that several other benefits reaped Sri Lanka as a result of the above historic mission Nillambe Power Station donated by China which is located in my electorate Gampola is a sentiment and wholeheartedly appreciate.”

”With my initiative, services to Chinese rice experts, distribution of Chinese books on science, art, literature etc. were made available to Sri Lanka. Thus in my own way I could promote and strengthen friendship and cooperation between our peoples. As Prime Minister of my country I place on record out country’s sincere gratitude to China for coming forward to assist our country in all International fora,” he said.

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