Last week Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen said that his ministry was preparing for the 7th round of talks with Chinese counterparts on an FTA between the two countries. He referred to the six sessions as being successful adding that entering Chinese markets would be immensely beneficial and would serve as an impetus for trade.
STATS and status quo:
According to the Sri Lanka Department of Commerce Sri Lanka’s top exports to China last year were Ceylon Tea, coconut, footwear parts, apparel, and rubber tires.
Though Lankan exports declined somewhat in 2016 to $199 million from 2015 high of $293 million, in general, exports to China have been on an upward trend-surging more than 5 fold (568%) since 2007’s mere $35 million.
Top imports from China last year were mobile phones, boats & vessels, handmade fabrics, and petroleum. Mobile phones remained as the largest import item from China to Sri Lanka during the last five-year period.
According to the Department of Commerce, in 2016 Sri Lanka’s total bilateral trade with China was $ 4.4 billion, a huge 363% increase in comparison to a decade ago ( $965 million 2007).