Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik
Samarawickrema said that he was confident of a free trade pact beneficial to
both countries being finalized before December. He made this assessment at the
end of bilateral talks with China in Beijing last week according to Sri Lankan
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
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.
The Prime Minister said that both Japan and China had accepted Sri Lanka as
the hub of the Indian Ocean considering its strategic location.
Sri Lanka plans to use its strategic location and leverage on our
connectivity, to become the Hub of the Indian Ocean. History has shown peace
and freedom of navigation always resulted in economic growth and
prosperity", he added.