Nov 05, 2019

"China has become largest official development partner of SL"

"No country can solve the problem of world economic development alone. Countries should adhere to the concept of human priority, rather than putting their own interests above human interests," Chinese president - Xi Jinping said.

Mr. Xi was speaking at the launch of the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, today (05).

On building an open and cooperative world economy and frictions that can arise, he noted, " In the face of contradictions and frictions, consultation and cooperation are the right way. As long as we treat each other equally, understand each other and yield to each other, there is no problem that cannot be solved. We should insist on opening up for development, deepening exchanges and cooperation, holding hands instead of letting go, breaking down walls instead of building walls, resolutely oppose protectionism and unilateralism, constantly reduce trade barriers, promote the perfection of global value chain and supply chain, and jointly cultivate market demand."

The Chinese President also pledged that China will adopt five measures to promote higher-level opening up ; namely to continue to expand market opening up, to continue to optimize the framework of opening up, to continue to improve business environment, to continue to deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation and to continue to jointly build the Belt and Road.

The CIIE will be held until Nov. 10 under the theme - "New Era, Shared Future" and will cover an exhibition area of 360,000 square meters, which is an increase of 60,000 square meters over last year.

EDB to take lead at SL pavilion 

For the second time, Sri Lanka will hold a country pavilion at the CIIE the country's participation is organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka to Shanghai. The EDB is the lead agency for the Sri Lanka Country Pavilion in CIIE along with other stakeholders such as Sri Lanka Tea Board, Sri Lanka Coconut Development Authority and SriLankan Airlines.

Huge demand

Speaking to China's TV channel - CGTN, on this year's expectations, Mr. Alexi Gunasekera - the Commercial minister of the Sri Lankan embassy in China said, Sri Lanka's participation at last year's CIIE was extremely beneficial and led to a spur of interest.

"We had a lot of inquiries and very good results. When we sent notifications asking our exporters to participate for a second time, there was a huge demand. So that shows that people have faith in this event and people have found the right people to negotiate and to do business.

Regardless of the demand for Sri Lanka's participation, the space available at the venue is limited, he noted.

Mr. Gunasekara also noted the vast improvement in Sino - Sri Lanka trade and economic relations. "This is my second term in China. When I first came in 2007, our exports to China was only 37 million USD... After 12 years, our exports to China is now close to 240 million... So there is a big improvement, he said.

"Look at the Chinese aid portfolio to Sri Lanka... more than 10 billion... China has become the largest official development partner of Sri Lanka," he added.

- Shanika Jayasekara reporting from Shanghai