China to have talks with Sri Lanka on FTA

Colombo Gazette, Sri Lanka

China to have talks with Sri Lanka on FTA

29 December 2015

The Chinese Government says it will have talks with Sri Lanka next year on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Gao Hucheng, the minister of commerce in China, said that China will step up negotiations next year on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as the free trade agreement between China, South Korea and Japan, and the country’s proposed FTAs with Sri Lanka and Maldives, to build stronger trade and investment ties with global partners, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Both foreign direct investment in China and outbound direct investment have risen this year, putting the nation on track to meet its annual growth target, the minister of commerce said. FDI is expected to reach $135 billion this year, up almost 13 percent year-on-year, while ODI is forecast to hit $128 billion, up 24 percent year-on-year.

Gao Hucheng said his department’s main tasks in the 13th Five-year Plan (2016-20) will be to stabilize external demand, improve the quality of high-end manufacturing and adjust the industrial structure to attract quality FDI.

“We’ll also encourage more Chinese companies to invest abroad to diversify sales channels in the global market,” he said at the ministry’s annual meeting in Beijing.

Due to fast-growing manufacturing and service industries, China received $620 billion in FDI during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15), up 30 percent on the previous five-year plan. ODI grew 14.2 percent over the same period.

Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to improve regional connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa and involves big-ticket infrastructure projects, has contributed to ODI growth this year.

The initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and covers about 4.4 billion people in more than 60 countries and regions.

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