Just as Sri Lanka vies for China’s booming export market, imports from China-and Sri Lanka is an ‘important location’ in China’s strategic Silk Road Economic Belt project and China’s new “World Bank”, as revealed by Xiong Yan (Director-Yunnan Daily Press Group International Communication Center) on 02 July in Colombo..”Sri Lanka is an important link in China’s $40 Bn Silk Road Economic Belt, which is a mutually beneficial project for both Sri Lanka and China. We also are pleased of Sri Lanka joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) this June” he further said.
Director Yan was addressing Bandula Egodage (Chairman-EDB) and EDB officials at EDB. Visiting Director Yan in here leading a four member Yunnan press delegation on a fact finding mission.
“We are here on a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan pavilion at recently concluded third China South Asia Expo was well received. We are trying to understand how things are shaping in Sri Lanka” said Visiting Director Yan and added: “We also want to assess Yunnan-Sri Lanka trade relations, cooperation mechanisms and how to further improve them. Apart from Yunnan trade, Sri Lanka is an important link in China’s $40 Bn Silk Road Economic Belt, which is a mutually beneficial project for both Sri Lanka and China. We also are pleased of Sri Lanka joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) this June. This Bank will lead the way in our Silk Road Economic Belt project. This new international bank, proposed by China and expected to be operational by the end of this year, can greatly help in securing funds for priority Sri Lankan heavy infrastructure projects. During this visit, we are also keen to find out Sri Lanka’s investment priorities and what a bank such as AIIB could do for the country.”
The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), touted as China’s “World Bank” will start with $50 Bn initial capital and was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. This Monday 29 June, Sri Lanka signed the articles of agreement to join AIIB–along with 57 other countries- in Beijing. Sri Lanka is now considered as a founding member of AIIB.
“We welcome China’s interest in the development of Sri Lankan economy” said EDB Chairman Egodage, and added: “As per the vision of our Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Chinese investors and manufacturers can invest in Sri Lanka and using India-Sri Lanka FTA, aim to penetrate the growing Indian market-and we invite keen Yunnan investors to invest here. Minister Bathiudeen also led a strong Lankan business and trade delegation to the recently concluded Kunming Fair. He led 127 Lankan participating institutions. Some of them reported to us $1.2 Mn in confirmed spot sales, $850,000 confirmed orders and 728 business inquiries for future linkages. We are awaiting more evaluations from more participants. The export community in Sri Lanka, especially the SME Sector is looking forward to this annual event as it gives them an opportunity to gain overseas experience at a low cost and make spot sales. This event also provided a good platform to create awareness about investment possibilities in Sri Lanka among the Chinese business community. Sri Lankan exports such as apparels uses a significant volume of Chinese imports as production inputs and therefore, just as Sri Lanka vies for China’s booming export market, it also yearns for imports from China.”
In 2014, Sri Lanka’s total trade with China stood at $3.7 Bn-of which $3.4 Bn were imports to Sri Lanka.