Sri Lanka hopes to finalise a Free Trade Agreement with China before the end of this year.
Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema said on Tuesday shortly after bilateral talks between Sri Lanka and China in Beijing, that he was confident of a free trade pact beneficial to both countries being finalized before December.
The Cabinet of Ministers recently approved a proposal by Samarawickrema to sign an Investment Promotion and Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement with China, under the Memorandum of Understanding that was entered into in April 2016.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who led the Sri Lankan delegation at talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang said that the government was not looking at individual projects alone, but pursuing its goal of developing Sri Lanka into a logistical and shipping hub as well.
“Our discussions included the Colombo Financial City, the Hambantota Industrial Project and the next steps involved.” , he said adding that China would honour its commitments.
Wickremesinghe said that the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation which concluded on Monday in Beijing was no longer about China alone , as every participating country was doing its bit in addition to the World Bank , International Monetary Fund and the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB).