Silk Route back in SA trade dialogue – Rishad

Published : 8:32 am  June 20, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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badiyu2Sri Lanka and China are historic friends and share a multi-faceted relationship going back to several centuries. The Silk Route is one reason for this enduring bilateral friendship, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, addressing the 10th China South Asia Business Forum at the third China-South Asia Exposition and 23rd China Import & Export Fair held in Kunming, China.

With the collaboration of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing and the Sri Lanka Consulate in Chengdu, Sri Lanka Export Development Board organized the Sri Lanka pavilion with 125 stalls at the China South Asia Expo showcasing Lankan gem and jewellery, tea, coconut products, spices, organic products, handcrafts, batik, ceramic products and etc.

“This year’s theme “Promote the construction of Silk Road Economic Belt; Accelerate the Pace of Business Cooperation” is a very timely topic of discussion as the Silk Route is back in South East Asian trade dialogue. The Silk Route was at one time the historic and sole trans-national ocean and land highway network linking China to Mediterraneans right through Sri Lanka and India.
“Being strategically located at the tip of South Asia, Sri Lanka was a natural port of call for Silk Route navigators and was well-known as “His-lan” and “Silan” by the ancient Chinese sailors,” noted Minister Bathiudeen.

Chinese participation in the Sri Lankan economy is also considerably significant. China is the second largest supplier to Sri Lanka. Chinese imports to Sri Lanka is worth US$3400 million covering 18 percent of total imports to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s main export items to China are apparel footwear tea in bulk mixed coir fibre mattress fibre sheet rubber and rubber tyres etc. The imports to Sri Lanka from China have also increased from US$ 630.million in 2005 to US$ 3414 million in 2014.

In 2014 Sri Lanka‘s main import items are woven fabric, electrical & electronic products, petroleum products, telephone sets. China has already made substantial investments in Sri Lanka. The 2014 investments were at US$ 403.5 million.

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao addressing the opening ceremony emphasized that China will actively support the role of peaceful development in the region and that the development of China’s trade relations will open opportunities for surrounding nations including Sri Lanka.

China is the 14th largest export market for Sri Lanka with exports worth US$ 173 million in 2014. Sri Lanka`s   exports  to  China  in   the  recent  past  has  shown  an upward  trend   reaching   $173.48 million  in  2014  from   a  mere   $ 25.64   million  in  2006.