Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Government expedites negotiations on China –Sri Lanka FTA

Sri Lanka, racked by civil unrest and economic disruptions for much of the year, has resumed free-trade agreement talks with China over the past two months amid new social stability within the island nation.

These talks have been going on not at a high level, but at an official level,” official sources said, adding that the government authorities are in a hurry because they would like to see more goods get access to the Chinese market and get the Chinese consent for debt restructuring.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says he is hopeful that negotiations on the Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement would recommence in near future to further boost the economic ties between the two nations.

He made this remark virtually addressing the opening ceremony of the 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world’s first and biggest import-themed expo yesterday evening (Nov. 04).

Speaking further, President Wickremesinghe remarked that the CIIE has provided a new and innovative stage for developing countries to enter the Chinese market. “I remember it was during the first forum of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) back in 2017 that the CIIE was first unveiled.”

Since then, the CIIE has been both an important step in trade liberalization as well as a vital tool in strengthening economic corporation around the world, President Wickremesinghe pointed out.

Noting that Sri Lanka has been participating in the CIIE since its inception, President Wickremesinghe said, expressed gratitude for allowing Sri Lankan businesses to benefit greatly through the participation, and providing the opportunity for Sri Lankan industries to establish a foothold in the Chinese market”

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other state leaders also delivered virtual addresses at this event.

President Xi said China would work with all countries and parties to share the opportunities in its vast market. “We will step up efforts to cultivate a robust domestic market, upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services, and import more quality products.”

He also assured to make efforts to establish pilot zones for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation and build national demonstration zones for innovative development of trade in services, in order to encourage innovation in trade and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation

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