Trade and Investment Forum of enterprises from Guangzhou was held in Colombo recently
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka in co-operation with Check Port City Colombo, part of the China Communications Construction Company Ltd, hosted a meeting that brought together representatives of the Guangzhou Municipal Commission of Commerce, business representatives from 10 companies from Guangzhou, Sri Lankan enterprises and senior officials of the Board of Investment (BoI).
The conference started with the showing of a BoI video in Chinese language. The objectives of the conference was to establish a bilateral co-operation mechanism and to promote investment and trade co-operation between Sri Lanka and Guangzhou in a variety of sectors such as electronics, IT, Internet trading, warehouse logistics, leatherwear, food manufacturing, building materials, sanitary ware and many others.
The longstanding relationship between Sri Lanka and China that goes back to ancient times was described by Sri Lanka China Business Co-operation Council President Nihal Mallikarachchi. Mallikarachchi also spoke of Sri Lanka China Rubber Rice Pact Agreement signed in 1952, which was the first major economic agreement between the two countries.
Guangzhou Municipal Commission of Commerce Director-General Dr. Xiao Zhenyu addressing the conference stated that he really wished to witness firsthand the booming Sri Lankan economy.
“Twenty years ago Guangzhou was experiencing the same environment like Sri Lanka. We want not only trading but also to promote investment. The economic development of Guangzhou is considerable. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Guangzhou is US $ 350 billion, which is higher than that of many countries. Per capita income is US $ 20,000. Booming Guangzhou businessmen have the capacity to invest abroad. They have already moved to Malaysia and Singapore. This delegation has leading entrepreneurs and we encourage them to explore Sri Lanka’s opportunities, he stated.
Dr. Xiao Zhenyu also stated that Sri Lanka and China have always been longstanding friends and former Prime Minister late Zhou Enlai had been very close to Sri Lanka and to the Prime Minister late Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya spoke of the shared Buddhist heritage of both Sri Lanka and China and the interesting fact that both countries are custodians of tooth relics of Lord Buddha. China had also generously built the BMICH during the Non Aligned Conference of 1976. There are nearly 104 Chinese companies operating in Sri Lanka in small, medium and large scale investments. Another 69 companies are awaiting approval. Port City is a very significant investment that Sri Lanka is looking forward to. The Chairman also briefed the visiting Chinese business delegation on how Sri Lanka is ready to provide an excellent service to the investors in a better way and welcomes all industries particularly the automobile industry.
The BoI Chairman was assisted by Renuka Weerakone (Executive Director - Investment Promotion), Dilip S. Samarasinghe (Director - Media and Publicity), Nilupul De Silva (Director - Promotion) and Kumudini Rathnaweera (Deputy Director - Promotion).
Some of the Chinese companies expressed interest in various sectors. These included Internet shopping in Sri Lanka as China is a leader in this sector with companies such as Alibaba. Other areas of interest and possible co-operation included the manufacture of vinyl products, electronics, telecommunications services home appliances and logistics. In those areas, the Chinese enterprises met
with Sri Lankan enterprises after the forum with the purpose of entering into joint ventures.