Minister Basil Rajapaksa visits China as Special Envoy to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Trade & Commerce
2014-07-17
 
The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, visited China as Special Envoy to the President of Sri Lanka 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. During the meeting, the Vice Premier of China conveyed the cordial greetings of Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Vice Premier 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 height. The Vice Premier further stated that the upcoming visit to Sri Lanka by Chinese President Xi Jinping will be a landmark diplomatic achievement 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. 
 
During 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 of 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 upliftment of the livelihoods of people in rural areas. He noted that being a large 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, the Minister stated that he was pleased that Sri Lanka has become a popular tourist destination for the Chinese people with an increase of 140% tourists 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 the trade, economic and tourism relations between the two countries both Vice Premier Yang and Commerce Minister Hucheng 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 the 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 Planning and  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 Shanghai Municipal Government and inaugurate the three-day Mega Sri Lanka Promotion Event organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism to promote trade, investment and tourism between Sri Lanka and Shanghai.    
 
3rd July, 2014.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
Beijing
 
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