The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing, China hosted an investment seminar on November 1, 2017, titled “Investing in Sri Lanka – Belt and Road Projects Seminar” during the visit of the Hon. Tilak Marapana, Minister of Foreign Affairs to China to attend the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations and the 65th Anniversary of Economic Relations between China and Sri Lanka.
The seminar, co-organized in collaboration with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Ambassadors’ Belt and Road Forum Committee of China, and the China Association for the International Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, was attended by 170 leading Chinese enterprises representing various sectors, including energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, real estate and IT.
During the seminar, Foreign Minister Marapana reiterated the strong relations between China and Sri Lanka, recalling the two key anniversaries, and China’s role as an important trade and investment partner of Sri Lanka. The Minister further highlighted the strong advantages Sri Lanka has as an attractive investment destination in the region and in the world, in terms of its workforce, geographical location, regional and global connectivity, and logistical capabilities. The Minister invited participating companies to explore investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, building upon existing sectors such as real estate, energy, tourism and infrastructure, and also moving further to even more dynamic sectors such as IT and export manufacturing sectors such as medical devices, solar panels, automotive parts, etc.
Mr. Duminda Ariyasinghe, Director General, and Mr. Vipula Jayasinghe, Deputy Director of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, also addressed the participants making presentations on Sri Lanka’s business environment its advantages as an investment destination, investment framework and the opportunities available.
Mr. Ma Wenpu, Former Vice Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee, Ms. Li Yunyan, President of the Belt and Road Ambassadors
Forum Committee and Mr. Guo Yongle, Deputy Chairman of China Association For International Economic Cooperation also addressed the gathering, highlighting the strong relations between China and Sri Lanka and the opportunities available for cooperation between the two countries.
The seminar concluded with an enthusiastic Q&A Session in which company representatives engaged with the BOI in obtaining more information and further clarifications on Sri Lanka’s business and investment environment.
The text of the speech delivered by Hon.Tilak Marapana, Minister of Foreign Affairs at this event is as follows:
"Mr. Ma Wenpu, Former Vice Minister of the International Department of Central Committee, Ms. Li Yunyan, President of Ambassadors’ Forum Committee, Mr. Yin Nin, Secretary General of AFC, Mr. Guo Yongle, Deputy Chairman of China Association for International Economic Cooperation, distinguished guests from the AFC and CAFIEC, distinguished members of the business community.
I am very happy to be here to address this distinguished gathering today at this seminar on “Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka”. I would like to thank the Ambassadors’ Forum Committee and the China Association for the International Economic Cooperation for their support to the Embassy of Sri Lanka to arrange this event.
As you all are aware, this year is the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations and 65th Anniversary of Economic Relations between China and Sri Lanka. These anniversaries are milestones in the longstanding relations between China and Sri Lanka, and are a strong indication of the many spheres of cooperation that has marked the friendship between the two countries. In ancient times, China and Sri Lanka have had many exchanges in trade, cultural and religious spheres. In modern times, this has expanded to investment, tourism, education, and research and information exchange in areas such as science, technology, agriculture, and maritime affairs.
Ladies and Gentlemen, With the commencement of the One Belt, One Road initiative under President Xi Jinping, Sri Lanka has gained an even prominent role in China’s regional relations, given its unique geographical location and inherent characteristics. With its key positioning on the 21st century Maritime Silk Route, Sri Lanka is placed to become an important trade, financial and logistics hub that will link China, the rest of East Asia, South Asia, Africa and Europe. As a dynamic economy in South Asia, which is forging ahead to develop its strengths including location and energetic human resources, Sri Lanka is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region. Its economic growth has been strong and steady, and is projected to continue strong growth in the future.
China has now become Sri Lanka’s leading investment partner, with investment in infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, real estate and tourism. In particular, China’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s infrastructure, particularly highways, ports and airports, has helped increasing Sri Lanka’s already impressive connectivity to the world. It is hoped that the areas of investment which China could explore within Sri Lanka can expand in such areas as export manufacturing like solar, automotive, pharmaceutical and medical devices, IT, as well as traditional areas such as real estate and tourism. China has established itself as a strong player in manufacturing as well as innovation in its own local brands in a wide area of sectors, and I believe that Sri Lanka could benefit strongly from injection of new technology and knowledge that Chinese investments would bring.
At the same time, I know that China will also obtain mutual benefits from investing in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has progressive business and investment policies, a dynamic and efficient logistics core, and is a gateway to key growing markets, including neighbouring India and the rest of South Asia, Europe where Sri Lanka enjoys GSP+ access for many export items, and to Africa. Sri Lanka has a high literacy rate, and one of the highest IT literacy rates, and a workforce with strong capability of embracing new skills and knowledge.
Today, you will have the opportunity to listen to senior officials from the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, who will present you Sri Lanka’s advantages and opportunities as one of the most attractive investment destination in the world. They will also be available to answer any questions you may have and I encourage you to take this opportunity to fully explore any questions and ideas you may have.
I hope this seminar will encourage you to highlight Sri Lanka as an investment destination that will bring mutual benefits to both our countries, and to explore the established and new areas for cooperation. I wish this event a complete success.
Thank you. "
Embassy of Sri Lanka
06 November 2017