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* China to assist Sri Lanka to develop garment industry
Fri, Oct 18, 2013, 09:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 18, Colombo: A free trade agreement (FTA) proposed between Sri Lanka and China will assist Sri Lanka to develop Sri Lanka's garment and handloom textile industries as a way to eliminate poverty in rural areas.

The Economic Development Ministry says that Chinese investors will contribute to develop Sri Lanka's garment industry and find international markets for the products aiming to reduce unemployment among rural women in the island.

A Chinese delegation led by the Deputy International Trade Representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China Yu Jianhua met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the Ministry in Colombo yesterday for discussions on the subject.

While noting that Sri Lanka's current development is impressive, the Chinese minister has pledged full assistance to the government's development programs and praised the Government's effort to develop the island's agriculture.

Jianhua has recalled the decades-old strong bilateral relations between the two countries and said the most significant among them was the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact.

Emphasizing that Sri Lanka is a priority country for China, the Chinese Minister remarked that the proposed China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is the biggest leap since the Rubber-Rice Pact.

Explaining the measures taken by the government to eliminate poverty in the country, the Minister Rajapaksa has stressed that there is a pressing need to find alternative jobs for women to reduce unemployment among them.

The Sri Lankan Minister expressed the hope that many Chinese tourists would visit Sri Lanka in the coming months and added that 100 Chinese travel agents had already agreed to bring in tourists from China.

Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena, Sri Lanka's Ambassador in China Ranjith Uyangoda, Commercial counselor- Department of Asian affairs Wang Liping and the Department's Deputy Director Huang Sangfeng also participated in the discussion at the Ministry.

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