Lankan PM hails Chinese help and projects

During the past five years, Sri Lanka has developed strong relations with not only China`s central government, but also with provincial governments.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2011, 22:29 PM IST

Beijing: Describing China as its close
friend, Sri Lanka on Thursday hailed Beijing`s support in its
development with a host of projects and generous aid.

During the past five years, Sri Lanka has developed
strong relations with not only China`s central government, but
also with provincial governments on the basis of regular high-
level exchanges, Lankan Prime Minister DM Jayaratne said.

Speaking at a forum at the 15th China International Fair
for Investment and Trade, which is currently being held in
southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, Jayaratne said Lanka`s
exports to China has increased to USD 102 million in 2010 from
USD 37 million in 2006, fueled by exports of tea, fiber and
fish.

"China has become our largest development partner and an
important investor in Sri Lanka, especially in infrastructure
projects. There are plenty of opportunities and areas that we
can exploit for mutual benefit," Jayaratne said.

Sri Lanka offers a wide variety of investment
opportunities and incentives for foreign investors, he said.

China is currently investing in a number of projects in
the country, including motorcycle manufacturing,
hydroelectricity and apparel manufacturing, he added.

Sri Lanka is currently courting investors for its
infrastructure, textiles, computer software and tourism
sectors, he said.

According to media reports, since 2006, China has granted
Sri Lanka USD 3 billion in financial aid, replacing Japan as
its single biggest aid donor and dwarfing aid from India, the
United States, Britain and other European countries.

PTI