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    Minister Basil Rajapaksa visits China as Special Envoy of the President Featured

    July 05, 2014

    The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, visited China as Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Trade and Commerce from 29th June to 06th July 2014 at the invitation extended by the Ministry of Commerce of China.

    During the visit, Minister Basil Rajapaksa met with Vice Premier of China, Wang Yang on 2nd July 2014. At the meeting, the Vice Premier conveyed the cordial greetings of Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He stated that China and Sri Lanka are good friends and partners and share a traditional friendship. The effective communication between the two Heads of State has helped elevate the relations to a new level. Vice Premier Wang further stated that the upcoming visit to Sri Lanka by Chinese President Xi Jinping will be a diplomatic landmark for the two countries. Minister Rajapaksa stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has contributed immensely to the strengthening of Sri Lanka – China relations and that the President, government and people of Sri Lanka are awaiting to warmly welcome the Chinese President to Sri Lanka. It is envisaged that a number of trade and economic related agreements will be signed during the visit.

     

    At the meeting that Minister Rajapaksa had with Minister of Commerce of China, Gao Hucheng, on 29th June 2014, it was agreed to fast track the negotiations on the  Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and China. Minister Rajapaksa outlined the many development activities undertaken by the GoSL, in particular those related to the uplift of the livelihoods of people in rural areas. He noted that being the largest single development partner, the biggest investments in Sri Lanka are from China and thanked China for the assistance provided to the GoSL in its efforts to develop the country.

     

    While referring to the development of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, Minister Rajapaksa stated that he was pleased that Sri Lanka has become a popular tourist destination for the Chinese people with an increase of 140% in the tourist arrivals from China to Sri Lanka this year. The Minister further stated that efforts are underway to introduce Union Pay credit card facilities in Sri Lanka and introduce Chinese language TV channels in the hotels in Sri Lanka and sought assistance in this regard from the Government of China.

     

    With a view to further strengthening trade, economic and tourism relations between the two countries both Vice Premier Wang and Commerce Minister Gao agreed with Minister Rajapaksa to explore the possibility of having direct Chinese commercial flights from China to Sri Lanka; Chinese investment in the manufacturing sector; fast-track the FTA process; encourage Chinese companies to further invest in Sri Lanka and intensify cooperation in the tourism sector.

     

    Minister Rajapaksa also met with the Executive Governor of Sichuan Province, Zhong Mian during his visit to Chengdu.

     

    The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China, Ranjith Uyangoda, Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Planning Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Bashwara Gunarathna and senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Planning and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing were present at the meetings.

     

    In Shanghai, the Hon. Minister is scheduled to meet with His Worship the Mayor of Shanghai and senior political leaders of the shanghai Municipal Government and inaugurate the 3-day Mega Sri Lanka promotion event organized by Sri Lanka Tourism to promote trade, investment and tourism between Sri Lanka and Shanghai. (HC/SI)

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