ECONOMYNEXT – China is considering investments in export industries in Sri Lanka partly to get around trade sanctions now being imposed on the country, the head of the island’s investment promotion agency said.
Sri Lanka has duty free access to big markets like the European Union, India and Pakistan through free trade deals.
The island is also negotiating more trade deals with other countries, including China as well as Singapore and Malaysia and expanding its deal with India, Board of Investment (BOI) chairman Dumindra Ratnayaka said.
Chinese investors were keen to invest in the island, he told a forum on new initiatives by the BOI held by the investment promotion agency and Council for Business with Britain.
“A lot of trade rules are now being enforced on them (China) – they see us as an opportunity to work around them.”
Several Chinese business delegations have visited Sri Lanka in recent months and officials have said many companies want to invest in the island.
Ratnayaka said foreign investors in the island can use a 35% value addition criteria in its trade deals to export duty free to several large markets from Sri Lanka.
One such was the GSP Plus trade deal with the EU which Sri Lanka regained recently.
While the main export under GSP is garments, Ratnayaka said there are 4,000 products which can be exported to Europe under the deal, as well as the free trade deal with Pakistan.
“We want to use these opportunities,” he said.
The BOI is planning several promotional tours in China, Japan, India and Europe in 2018 to have talks with targeted investors there, he added.
(COLOMBO, November 29, 2017)