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Sunday, 10 June 2012

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Sino-Lanka bilateral trade cooperation hits new high

China - Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation advanced to a new level as Yunnan, the third leading international trade and economic centre of China followed by Shanghai and Guanzhou, decided to review import quarantine rules, in response to the official submission by Sri Lankan Commerce Minister.

Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen and Deputy Governor of Yunnan
Province, Gu Zhaoxi(third from left) discuss China-Sri Lanka trade at the Kai Wa Plaza Hotel in China.

"I will immediately inform the Director General of our Department of Commerce to take steps with regard to quarantine regulations specially pertaining to perishable cargo" Deputy Governor of Yunnan Province, Gu Zhaoxi said.

Gu Zhaoxi apprised Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen during the bilateral trade session between Sri Lanka and China.

Minister Bathiudeen is in Kunming to attend the twin events of the seventh China South Asia Business Forum and the South Asian Countries Trade Fair in Kunming leading the business and official delegation. According to the Department of Commerce total trade between Sri Lanka and China is on an upward trend.

In 2011, the total bilateral trade value topped $ 2239.43m with the balance of trade in favour of China.

Sri Lanka's exports to China increased from 10.9m in 2002 to $156 m in 2011 which is an achievement considering the fact that only eight countries in Asia including Sri Lanka were able to maintain positive export growth to China compared with 2008.

Minister Bathiudeen, voicing the issues of Sri Lankan exporters to China, apprised deputy governor, Gu Zhaoxi "As a result of the economic resurgence of Sri Lanka due to the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, our exports have increased steadily and we are now aiming at $ 20b exports by 2020.

Our exports to China too have grown and in 2011 it stood at $ 156m. However, our committed exporters, specially those who export perishables such as seafood, fruits and other agricultural products, are hampered by customs regulations that requires quarantine inspection, relating to perishable cargo. Sri Lanka will be appreciative to China for addressing this problem."

Apprising Minister Bathiudeen, Gu Zhaoxi said: "I am glad that Sri Lanka raised this issue since many exporters to China too have told us about it.

I will immediately inform the Director General of our Department of Commerce to take steps with regard to quarantine regulations, specially pertaining to perishable cargo.

This needs to be tackled with Beijing based national level import-export quarantine agencies. If importers in China want to import or export agro and perishable items such as seafood, each item has to be identified and certified by our quarantine agency. The agriculture quarantine agency in charge of examining agriculture products, import and export should be contacted".

Private exporters from Laos and Thailand also requested to export a new agro item from their countries to Yunnan. In these cases we have to obtain a report from the National Quarantine Examination Administration in Beijing. They will send staff to each country on a field visit to examine samples and certify for export items to China saying they are safe and satisfy other conditions meeting Chinese standards.

Since quarantine clearance is a very complicated process, specially at the beginning a possible solution for this issue is the recommendation from our Departments of Commerce of both countries.

The Departments of both countries can agree on a list of products in this regard. We like your Department of Commerce to submit the items in a single list so that our field staff can visit Sri Lanka and certify all of them."

Gu Zhaoxi said "Yunnan wants to improve other aspects of China- Sri Lanka relations beyond trade and economic cooperation. We want to begin cooperation with Sri Lanka on education, culture and also tourism."

Minister Bathiudeen told deputy governor, Gu Zhaoxi "We are also keen to see increased tourists from Yunnan.

Thanks to the efforts of our Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapksa we are now working towards a16, 000 hotel room target by 2016 to cater to tourists whose numbers increased by 40 percent in 2011 in comparison to 2010.

 

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