A Communist Party team from China’s business capital has inspected an airport and port built by Chinese in southern Sri Lanka as part of a visit to scout for investment opportunities.
The delegation of senior officials from Chinese People’s Political consultative Conference of Shanghai (CPPCC), an advisory body, had come on a fact finding mission “to develop a greater co-operation between China and Sri Lanka”, the Board of Investment said.
The delegation consisted of 6 senior officials of the Communist Party of China (Shanghai chapter) and was led by Xu Yibo, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Shanghai Committee.
“In the course of their visit, the delegation inspected the infrastructure in Sri Lanka notably the port and international airport at Hambantota,” the BOI statement said.
It quoted Upul Jayasuriya, chairman of the BOI, as saying Sri Lanka’s free trade agreements with India and Pakistan could help Chinese exporters access these markets duty free if any of 4,000 identified items are produced in Sri Lanka with 35% value added.
Jayasuriya told the delegation that Sri Lanka’s relations with China had been particularly friendly.
“Currently the port city project is progressing at a speed. Furthermore China has built in Hambantota both the port and international airport. And the government also signed an agreement on the Hambantota Port where Chinese companies can be established,” the BOI said.
Jayasuriya also told the Chinese that Sri Lanka is currently engaged in the transformation of the City of Colombo.
The first stage is the transformation around Beira Lake,where there is considerable opportunities for investment. Chinese enterprises who are interested in investing overseas should seriously consider this opportunity, he said.
Zhang Xinsheng, Chair of Committee for Economic Affairs of the CPPCC Shanghai Committee, was quoted as saying that “Sri Lanka is a golden place to invest”.
Shanghai being China’s major economic centre has considerable industrial potential which had grown exponentially in the last 30 years, he said.
This included manufacture of automobiles, aerospace products, and the development of port infrastructure.
Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka’s main interest is currently in manufacturing products with higher value added and technology component which would result in the transfer of knowhow into the country as well as boost exports.
One area that Sri Lanka is particularly interested is in the assembly motor vehicles and the manufacture of automotive parts. (Economynext)