Many large Chinese companies, including State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), have expressed genuine interest in investing in Sri Lanka at a crucial time when we are seeking foreign investments to facilitate the speedy recovery of our economy, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in China, Dr. Palitha Kohona told the Sunday Observer Business recently.
He said the Sri Lanka Embassy in China has been talking to government agencies, prominent influence generators and major Chinese companies, including SOE’s, to make them consider Sri Lanka a desired destination for their investments.
“We, in concert with line agencies in Sri Lanka, explain the concessions that we are ready to make and these are available in the public domain, the security available for FDIs, including legal security, the international reassurances available, the potential markets that can be accessed in India and Pakistan, with whom we have FTAs, Africa, the Middle East and ASEAN with which we have excellent relations and good transport connectivity, the access that we enjoy to the EU and the US markets, etc , he said adding that most importantly, the close relationship between the two countries needs constant emphasis,” he said.
The Mission exploits all opportunities for participating in exhibitions and uses speaking opportunities, including on Chinese national and regional TV, without fail, Dr. Kohona said, adding that it had participated in a dozen or more TV appearances this year and many more interactions with the print media.
The mission has also organised four well attended major themed events this year. It is for Sri Lanka to make Chinese companies welcome.
“We have a history of close relations with China, because of our trading interests, religious connectivities and cultural similarities. They are fellow Asian people who have never colonised us or sought to exploit us economically or destroy our culture,” the Ambassador said, while stressing that Sri Lanka needs these investments for the Colombo Port City and for the Hambantota Industrial Zone.
Of course, the entry of Chinese investors could be the catalyst for companies from other countries to enter the Sri Lankan investment space, which we would readily welcome. We are also making sustained efforts to gain expanded access to the lucrative Chinese consumer market for our exports which have not penetrated this market adequately, he said.
On the need to promote Ceylon Tea the Ambassador noted that China is the most profitable market for Western luxury goods and farm products. While every Chinese person of my acquaintance wishes to enjoy Ceylon Cha, our tea is not readily available in the marketplace. In my experience, once the pall of Covid 19 is lifted, thousands of Chinese tourists are likely to make Sri Lanka their destination of choice. We just need to make the Chinese more aware of Sri Lanka.