‘SL-China YoY trade tops $4.4 bn, up by 11%’

Minister Bathiudeen at the launch event of the first ever product exhibition in Sri Lanka by China’s Guangxi Zuang Autonomous Region at SLECC. Pictures by Mahinda Vithanachchi
Minister Bathiudeen at the launch event of the first ever product exhibition in Sri Lanka by China’s Guangxi Zuang Autonomous Region at SLECC. Pictures by Mahinda Vithanachchi

Sri Lanka moves closer to FTA

 

No less than six exhaustive sessions of official talks have been wrapped to-date in Sri Lanka’s pursuit of the coveted Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the world’s second largest economy.

“Our talks with China are progressing smoothly,” said an upbeat Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on Friday in Colombo.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of the first ever product exhibition in Sri Lanka by China’s Guangxi Zuang Autonomous Region at Colombo’s SLECC. The event was joined by Deputy DG of Department of Commerce of Guangxi, Xiong Jiajun and a 40-man strong trade and exhibition delegation of which 35 were event exhibitors from Guangxi. Also attending the event was Charge d’affairs of Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Pang Xunshie.

“In recent years, China-Sri Lanka two way trade has grown faster than our trade with many other countries. Last year China became the largest import origin for us. 42% of our total imports from the world in 2016 came from China at a value of $ 4.2 billion. The result was that china is now the largest global supplier to Sri Lanka,” said Minister Bathiudeen.

According to the Sri Lanka Department of Commerce (SLDoC) Sri Lanka’s top exports to China last year were Ceylon Tea, coconut, footwear parts, apparel, and rubber tyres. Sri Lanka’s largest export to China five years ago was ‘various types of fibres’ immediately followed by Ceylon Tea, but by last year, Ceylon Tea has crowned the exports list to be followed by ‘fibres’. Though Lankan exports declined somewhat in 2016 to $199 mn from 2015 high of $293 mn, in general, exports to China have been on an upward trend-surging more than 5 fold (568%) since 2007’s mere $35 mn. Top imports from China last year were mobile phones, boats & vessels, handmade fabrics, and petroleum. Mobile phones remained as the largest import item from China to Sri Lanka during the last five year period.

Minister Bathiudeen added: “Also recently IMF and World Bank ranked China as the world’s largest economy based on Purchasing Power Parity.


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