In t e r n a t i o n a l Tr a d e an d Development Strategies Minister Malik Samarawickrama yesterday expressed confidence in Sri Lanka’s relationship with China continuing on a much firmer and stronger footing with the prevailing issues being successfully ironed out. “We discussed all the outstanding issues and all of them have been resolved.

Now it is all about systems as far as China is concerned,” said Samarawickrama during the Ceylon Chamber’s Investment and Business Conclave 2016, giving an update on his recent visit to that country.

Elaborating on the details, he shared that Sri Lanka had sorted out the differences with China on the major infrastructure projects entered into during the time of the previous regime. Samarawickrama said the b i g g e s t C h i n e s e v e n t u r e , the US $ 1.4 billion Port City real estate reclamation, would be given approval. “Very soon they can recommence. There will be few amendments to the original agreement, which can be done within the course of this month,” he stated.

For the said project, land will not be on a free-hold basis but on a 99-year lease.

The minister stated that once the land is filled, the whole project would operate under a joint venture between a Chinese company and the Sri Lankan government.

“That is another big change. We will then proceed with the agreement that is signed. There will be no issue on that,” said the minister confidently while adding that all other developments, such as the southern expressway, the extension to Kataragama and the water projects, among others would continue. During his visit, the minister said the Chinese investors were convinced to work on the “huge white elephants”, the Hambantota airport and seaport, on a joint venture basis. The investors have agreed to forward proposals for the same within the next few weeks. Furthermore, the Chinese investors will also be setting up an industrial zone of 1000 acres in Hambantota. “All this will help develop the country and at least the finance minister will have some income to pay off the debt,” noted Samarawickrama. Samarawickrama was in China earlier this month to set the foundation for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s oncoming visit to the country from April 7 to 8. - See more at: 

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