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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 110

‘Lanka-China FTA not a blindsided rush’-Rishad

Colombo, 02 November, (Asiantribune.com):

Forthcoming FTA with China is not a blindsided move but is a process involving studies and even relevant stakeholder consultations. “We are still at initial study phase and we will not finalise product lists without consulting Lankan stakeholders such as various Chambers and industries” assured Rishad Bathiudeen, (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka) the oldest Industry Chamber in the country on 31 October in Colombo.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing a delegation led by Gamini Gunasekara (new Chairman, CNCI) on 31 October at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Also taking part were Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) and additional secretaries, officials of Department of Commerce and CNCI officials.

• ‘It will be a transparent process, with consultations’- Rishad

• ‘We now feel assured!’ - CNCI new Chairman Gunasekara

• 2012 Trade with China tops $2.67 Bn

Commenced in 1960, pioneering CNCI is the foremost service facilitator as well as the voice of the Industry.

Currently it consists of almost 300 members including SMEs. It is representative of all the industry sectors of Sri Lanka. Along with new Chairman Gunasekara, reps from such firms as Union Chemicals Lanka, Browns Group, EB Creasy, Central Industries, and Sinwa Holdings were meeting Minister Bathiudeen on 31 October.

According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, the total trade turnover between Sri Lanka and China which stood at US $ 658.94 Mn in 2005 has increased by a massive 306% to $ 2676.13 Mn by 2012. In the corresponding period, exports to China increased by 286% to $108 Mn. This is an achievement considering the fact that of the 50 Asian Countries only 8 -including Sri Lanka - were able to maintain a positive Export growth to China since 2008. Latest statistics show that China has also entered the first 25 export destinations for Sri Lankan products.

Having congratulated CNCI new Chairman Gunasekara on his new appointment and welcoming him, Minister Bathiudeen continued: “Lanka-China FTA is a major force to address our trade imbalance with China and increase our export volumes. We are still at initial study phase and we will not finalise product lists without consulting Lankan stakeholders such you and various other Chambers and industries. It is not a closed process but a transparent one. Once the initial studies are concluded, stakeholder meetings will commence. Of course, we will carefully craft market access on our side. Accordingly, we look forward to your valuable inputs.

We will also take into account of the strengths of our trading partner, and product lists under other FTAs including Indo – Lanka, Lanka-Pakistan and APTA when we finalise the product lists in this regard.”
Addressing Minister Bathiudeen, CNCI new Chairman Gunasekara said: “We thank you for your concerned approach in this and we now feel assured. CNCI is also planning to support CHOGM at various levels including member sponsorships. We thank you for the support extended to our industries by your Ministry and also want to work more closely with you on chemical management aspects in our industries.”

- Asian Tribune -

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka -left) and a satisfied CNCI delegation at the Ministry of Industry & Commerce on 31 October. Gamini Gunasekara (new Chairman, CNCI) is seated second from left next to Minister  Bathiudeen.
Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka -left) and Gamini Gunasekara (new Chairman, CNCI) discuss on 31 October at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
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