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China welcomes resumption of SL free trade talks



China has welcomed the resumption of free trade agreement talks by Sri Lanka as the country attempts to boost exports, after years of closed market policies under the Rajapaksa regime that allowed businessmen to exploit domestic consumers.

“I am glad to see after five years suspension Sri Lanka government decided to resume bilateral FTA negotiations in the second half of this year,” Li Guangjun, Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Peoples’ Republic of China in Colombo said.

“I sincerely wish that both sides could work together and reach an agreement as early as possible for expanding our trade and investment co-operation.”

He was speaking at the 21st Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka – China Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“Over the past decade bilateral relations have been cordial and friendly which had made the possibility of great progress in achieving economic and trade co-operation between our two countries,” Li said.

In 2021 China was Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign direct investment, he said.

“In spite of the pandemic and sluggish global growth business ties have continued to grow,” Li said.

Sri Lanka started to rob consumer sovereignty extensively from around 2005, with key economic policy makers and of then President Mahinda Rajapaksa supporting 1970s style import substitution, calling it ‘import replacement.’

High import duties allowed key businessmen close to the administration making building materials, shoes and confectionery businesses in particular to exploit consumers selling goods at twice or three times the world prices, critics say.

In addition to high informal port duties, other so-called para tariffs, the Airport and Port Levy and- CESS was deployed against consumers.

The CESS was an unusual tax brought to boost exports coming under the Export Development Board, allowing valued added exporters to exploit primary producers with lower than global prices in another dog-eat-dog policy –

Sri Lanka started to close the economy with ever tightening exchange controls around 1952 about two years after a Latin America style central bank was set up in 1950 abolishing a currency board.

As economists printed money to suppress rates, import controls were brought in.

In 1969 a formal import control law was brought as economists misled then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake to enact the Import and Export Control Law instead of controlling economist’s ability to print money under ‘flexible’ policies.

He was defeated in subsequent elections.

The 1970s saw the height of trade controls with the central bank owning most of the Treasury bills issued by the government, a situation almost replicated in 2022 as the country goes through the worst currency crisis in the history of the central bank.

From around 1978 Sri Lanka opened the economy from trade but did not reform its central bank economists, continuing to print money, while the export CESS was also brought in.

In 1980 with the rupee coming under pressure as the economy grew strongly then President J R Jayewardene brought in Goh Keng Swee, the economic architect of Singapore whose advise not to print money was apparently ignored by the economists denying monetary stability to the people.


(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by has not been edited by SLM staff)


CMC’s receivable income exceeds Rs.6,200mn in 2022!




The receivable income of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for the year 2022 was Rs.6,280.50 million, it was revealed during the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) meeting.

This was revealed when the COPA met in Parliament on June 06 under the chairmanship of State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna to examine the Auditor General’s reports and current performance of the Colombo Municipal Council for the years 2020/2021.

The CMC’s total receivable income of the year 2021 is Rs.5,835.6 million, Rs.5,386.4 million in 2022 and Rs.4,481.5 million in 2019. It was found that these arrears are in the form of assessment tax, rent and other taxes.

Accordingly, the officials who were present pointed out that they are making arrangements to acquire the properties where the taxes are in arrears.

They said that there are issues related to the identification of the owners of certain properties, and that there is also a shortage of CMC officials available to look into these matters.

The COPA member MPs pointed out that assessment numbers have been given for unauthorized constructions as well.

Accordingly, the committee recommended that a programme should be prepared with specific dates to recover the arrears and a full report should be submitted to the COPA by July 06, 2023.

It was also revealed that the private companies contracted to collect parking fees have continued to default on the monthly rent due to the CMC and the amount of arrears to be collected from 38 companies as at December 31, 2021, was Rs. 265 million.

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Parliament SOC recommends not to privatise SLT




The Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on National Security has said that it does not recommend the privatisation of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT).

This was stated in a report issued by the SOC on National Security headed by MP Sarath Weerasekera.

The report said that matters sensitive to national security can be exposed through the privatisation of SLT.

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Fonseka resigns from SOC on National Security




Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has resigned from the Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on National Security, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakshe announced in Parliament today (09).

He said MP Rauff Hakeem has been appointed to the vacant position instead.

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