29th March 2013, www.ft.lk
“We thank you for making Sri Lanka a Joint Sponsor in the first China South Asia Exposition (CSAE) to be held in Yunnan in June. We are currently working on a 150-strong Sri Lankan delegation for this forthcoming international event,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday.
The first-high level Chinese team to arrive here since the appointment of China’s new Premier Li Keqiang and in less than two weeks since Keqiang’s ascension on 15 March, the delegation is also scheduled to hold meetings with several key figures of Lankan Government before it returns home.
Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and China stood at $ 2.676 b in 2012, increasing by 19.5% from 2011. Exports to China in 2012 stood at $ 108.12 m. China has now become the largest development partner and an important investor in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, bilateral trade between Yunnan Province and Sri Lanka is now reported at $ 37 m (2012).
“We also thank China for its support towards our infrastructure development and more importantly, for giving us the second international sea port and international airport,” stressed Minister Bathiudeen. “China ranks as the third largest supplier to Sri Lanka. In 2012, China exported $ 2.56 b in goods, which is the highest in trade history, however Sri Lanka’s exports to China were only $ 108 m, about 1% of Sri Lanka’s total exports.
This shows that there is yet unrealised export potential at our end, which we can explore jointly.”
Shaoxiang said: “We also believe that there is huge trade potential between the time-honoured friends.
The Chinese Central Council has now upgraded the annual China-South Asia Trade Fair and Business Forum to China South Asia Exposition, which is no more a provincial level event but a national level event, and the first, new edition of CSAE will be held in Kunming starting 6 June. As a step in developing our trade, we invite Sri Lanka to co-sponsor the significant first CSAE in Yunnan’s capital Kunming and also invite strong Sri Lanka business participation at the concurrently held Kunming Fair. We invite Sri Lankan businesses to set up a Sri Lankan Trade Representative Office in Kunming, Yunnan’s capital, for which we have already allocated space in the Yunnan Foreign Trade Tower in Kunming Municipality. Yunnan is the closest Chinese Province to Sri Lanka and is the gateway to the rest of China.”
Shaoxiang added: “We also want to expand our entry in Sri Lanka’s infrastructure. Many Yunnan contractors are active throughout South Asia and all their projects have been commended by South Asian governments. Energy sector, especially hydropower, is a speciality of Yunnan builders. Sinohydro China’s speed in construction of Moragahakanda reservoir has already been commended by the Government of Sri Lanka. In fact, today I have brought with me both the Vice President and Director of Sinohydro Bureau in this delegation to explore more cooperation in the energy sector here.”
Sinohydro, the State-owned project contractor firm with $ 18.26 b global revenues (2011: Chinese Yuan 113.47 b), is the sixth largest construction firm in China and is ranked 23rd among top 225 global contractors, with 12 subsidiaries operating under it.
In 2011, Sinohydro had 2,541 construction contracts in 62 countries across many regions. Apart from its Chinese projects, the group’s global infrastructure project portfolio (which includes BT, BOT and PPP projects) spans across Ethiopia, Sudan, Malaysia, Laos, Qatar, Congo DR and Algeria. Sinohydro is also in real estate, investments, E&M equipment, and engineering consultancy.
During the meeting, both parties also commended the contribution of direct Sino-Lanka air-links towards the development business to business contacts between both economies.
Also present during the meeting were Ministry of Industry and Commerce Secretary Anura Siriwardene, top officials of the Ministry, the EDB, and the Department of Commerce.
Related Info :
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