Jan 23, Colombo: A proposed Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement (SLCFTA) aimed at boosting bilateral trade between the two countries will materialize before the end of this year, a Chinese official has said Thursday.
Wang Yingqi, commercial counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka has said that the feasibility study on the highly-anticipated trade agreement is underway and due to be completed by March this year.
The Chinese official has expressed confidence in finalizing the landmark agreement before end of 2014, Xinhua reported.
According to Wang the SLCFTA would help bring bilateral trade with Sri Lanka to similar levels the country has with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and the capacity to export to China will be significantly enhanced."
"By signing the FTA, Sri Lanka will have a bigger market share in China, and China in Sri Lanka. That will help not only in bridging the trade gap but also in the overall development of the Sri Lankan economy," Wang has said
The proposed SLCFTA is considered as the biggest development since the famous Sino-Lanka Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952.
Sri Lanka's Central Bank in June 2011 approved the Chinese Renminbi (Yuan) as a designated currency allowing for international transactions through banks in Sri Lanka in order to facilitate growing economic activities between the two countries.