The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka hosted a delegation from the Guangzhou municipal government headed by Tu Hongze, Vice Counsel. The delegation is on a fact finding visit to the island to evaluate the possibility of enterprises from Guangzhou formally known as Canton, investing and trading with Sri Lanka.
The delegation was met and briefed on investment opportunities by a team of the BOI consisting of Nilupul De Silva, Director (Promotion), Dilip Samarasinghe, Director (Media and Publicity) and Vipula Jayasinghe, Senior Deputy Director (Promotion – China Desk Officer). The visit was co-ordinated by Shanika Dissanayake Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Guangzhou.
Tu, the leader of the delegation spoke of the importance of Guangzhou in China. The city is 3rd largest in China after Beijing and Shanghai, with a very large land area and gross domestic product of US$300 billion. Tu stated that if Guangzhou were to have been a separate state, it would have the 14th largest economy in the world, underscoring its immense contribution to China’s economic growth.
Furthermore Guangzhou is an integral component to China’s programme of economic integration of the Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe regions, known as the One Belt One Road programme.
Hence companies from Guangzhou have engaged in investing over US$1,700 million in approximately 60 countries. Many of these projects are in the area of Tourism and the leader of the delegation stated that he was keen to see more Sri Lankan visitors to China while expecting the growth of Chinese tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka continue.
Tu stated “We are looking at opportunities. We have learnt a lot from the presentation done by the BOI and are keen to send the message that Sri Lanka is an ideal tourism destination which combines beaches, nature and historical sites”. He added, “We are from the government of Guangzhou and we think of Sri Lanka as a beautiful country that is worth visiting”.
“Whilst this is first our visit to Sri Lanka, it has provided an opportunity for us to study the business climate of the country, we are also appreciative of the fact that there are very close ties between the governments and the peoples of Sri Lanka and China”.
Tu added, “The Chinese government is keen to do the large projects in Sri Lanka and is looking at investment opportunities notably in the tourism sector. Currently there are 1.4 million tourists travelling annually from Guangzhou and I am confident that in the future there would be more who will opt for Sri Lanka as a holiday destination.
“I also believe that this is the ideal time to engage in investment in Sri Lanka and with Free Trade Agreements that Sri Lanka has entered into with India, Pakistan and in future with China, in addition to the return of the EU GSP Plus facility, thanks to enhanced market access, Sri Lanka will become a very attractive destination for future investments”.