Yang Zuoyuan Counsellor, Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of China in Sri Lanka with EDB Chairman Prabash Subasinghe
Chairman of Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) Prabash Subasinghe recently met Yang Zuoyuan, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo to discuss the opportunities available to enhance trade between the two countries.
The discussions were mainly focused on the importance of further strengthening of trade between the two countries in view of fully utilizing the trade potential that lies
The discussion highlighted early recoveries achieved by both the countries following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the IMF, China’s economic growth after the pandemic was predicted, to be 8.2 percent which will give vast opportunities for its trading partners.
Benefits that could be accrued through preferential market access were discussed during the meeting where such tools could be used to narrow down the current trade gap between the two countries. In this regard, the activation of negotiation process of the proposed China-Sri Lanka FTA was highlighted as this will act as a catalyst to increase trade between Sri Lanka and China exploiting the opportunities available in
Discussions were also held on China International Import Expo (CIIE) where the EDB organized Sri Lanka’s participation from its inception in 2018. Arrangements are being made by the EDB to organize Sri Lanka’s participation at CIIE 2020 as well. This event was an important move of China to open its market and promote trade, and was a platform for international cooperation for all countries to showcase their development achievements and discuss global economic and trade issues.
Importance of Chinese investment into to Sri Lanka was also discussed taking advantage of the regulatory frameworks of both countries. This will also lead to increasing regional exports utilizing the existing FTA concessions and accelerate the commercial ties.
China is a very important trading partner for Sri Lanka. Total merchandize trade between the two countries stood at US$ 4, 261 million in 2019. Being the top import destination of Sri Lanka, total imports from China to Sri Lanka recorded as US$ 4,032 million in 2019 with the share of 21 percent of total imports.
China was the 11th export destination with an export value of US$ 229 million in 2019 for Sri Lanka with main export products of tea, activated carbon, electronic & electrical products, coir fibre, apparel, mineral sands, petroleum products, pneumatic & retreated rubber tyres & tubes.
Sri Lankan exporters and producers mainly from sectors of apparel, spices, fresh fruits, and other food and agriculture products are expecting to explore this lucrative market where nearly 400 million people in China are considered as the middle class income earners which is expected to grow 70 percent by year 2030.