China FTA’s 6th round of talks concluded

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By 2017-07-17

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More than six sessions of official talks have been conducted to-date with the world's second largest economy, China, on its Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"Our talks with China are progressing smoothly", said Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka, Rishad Bathiudeen in Colombo recently. "The IMF and World Bank ranked China as the world's largest economy based on Purchasing Power Parity. These factors show that an FTA with such an economy would be beneficial for Sri Lanka. I am pleased to say that our FTA talks with China are progressing smoothly. The sixth round of talks was successfully concluded this March in Beijing. We are working on the seventh FTA round next", the Minister added. He said, "The exhaustive negotiations by Lankan side, steadily shouldered by SLDoC, always move ahead after continued domestic stakeholder consultations and feedback are received.

According to the SLDoC, in 2016 Sri Lanka's total bilateral trade with China was $ 4.4 billion, a huge 363% increase in comparison to a decade back in 2007 (at $965 Mn), and even an 11% annual YoY increase in 2016 -from 2015's $ 4 Bn.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch of the first- ever product exhibition in Sri Lanka by China's Guangxi Zuang......Autonomous Region at Colombo's SLECC. Deputy DG of the Department of Commerce of Guangxi, Xiong Jiajun and a 40-man strong trade and exhibition delegation of which 35 were event exhibitors from Guangxi participated at the launch. Charge d'affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Pang Xunshie also attended the launch.

"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 country of import origin for us. 42% of our total imports from the world in 2016 came from China at a value of $ 4.2 billion. 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 five- fold (568%) since 2007's mere $35 Mn. Top imports from China last year were mobile phones, boats and vessels, handmade fabrics and petroleum. However, mobile phones continued being the largest import item from China to Sri Lanka during the last five years.

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