|Interview: Sri Lanka looks forward to increasing cooperation with China: president|
COLOMBO, August 8 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka looks forward to increasing cooperation in trade and investment from China, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in an interview with Xinhua ahead of his visit to China.
Rajapaksa will leave for China late Monday on a state visit where he will have talks with Chinese leaders. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the 26th Universiade, the latest large- scale international sports event for China.
Rajapaksa said China and Sri Lanka have seen the cooperation in many spheres, which has contributed to the regional stability and development.
"The high level exchanges between our two governments and the other interactions in areas of mutual interest have been most useful in developing the best relations between us. In fact it will be right to say that the relations between China and Sri Lanka are at the highest levels of friendship and understanding," said Rajapaksa.
He said it will be possible to deepen the cooperation and friendship between the two countries with a greater trade, more cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
He said China now plays a very important role in the international stage and the fiscal policies of China have prevented the global economy from being badly affected by the financial crises in other parts of the world.
"China's growth rate is setting a benchmark for developing countries such as Sri Lanka. We are impressed by the role that China is playing today in strengthening the economies of countries in Africa. We also follow with interest the leading role that China is now playing in facing up to the challenges of climate change and protection of the environment," Rajapaksa said.
He said Sri Lanka looks forward to increasing cooperation in trade and investment from China as the country has already taken many steps to improve the investment environment with tax rebates and having no restrictions on the remittance of profits from investment.
With regard to preferential policies, Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka will certainly consider such benefits to investments that have a direct impact on meeting the industrial and development needs of the country and will ensure the interests of all those who come to invest.
He said since the defeat of terrorism in May 2009, Sri Lanka has witness political stability, remarkable economic progress and carried out the speedy resettlement of the internally displaced people.
He said Sri Lanka is committed to a market oriented economy that will not neglect the social welfare needs of the people, and through this means Sri Lanka looks forward to the cooperation between the state and private sectors in building the national economy.
He said his government is also committed to the reconciliation among all communities, and the strengthening of peace to ensure that the dividends of peace are equitably distributed among the Sri Lankan people.
"We also appreciate very much the understanding shown by China on the pressures of the post-conflict period, and the support extended to heal the wounds of war," the president said.
Since 2007, Rajapaksa has visited China several times including in October last year as a special guest to attend the Expo 2010 Exhibition in Shanghai.
"On the several occasions that I visited China I have been highly and favorably impressed by the development taking place in the economy, the participation of people in productive economic and social activities," Rajapaksa said.
"In my upcoming visit, I expect to learn more of the progress and the management styles that have contributed to the progress of China, and also see how we could learn from the experiences of China."