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* Sri Lanka, China discuss beginning negotiations on proposed free trade agreement
Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 01:10 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 02, Beijing: Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, currently visiting China as the Sri Lankan president's special envoy, Wednesday met with the Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Xinhua news agency reported.

During the discussion with the Chinese Vice Premier, the Sri Lankan Minister discussed further strengthening the trade relations between the two countries.

The Vice Premier said the Chinese government is willing to work with the Sri Lankan side to implement the consensus reached by the two presidents and deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Wang called on both sides to begin negotiation on their proposed free trade agreement as soon as possible, encourage Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Sri Lanka and strengthen the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries.

The proposed Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement is considered as the biggest development since the famous Sino-Lanka Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952.

The trade between Sri Lanka and China has increased in the recent past, reaching US$ 3.6 billion in 2013 from US$ 1.1 billion in 2006. China has become one of the major development partners of Sri Lanka during the past, especially in the field of infrastructure projects.

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