Colombo, Aug 1 (newsin.asia) – China, on Monday requested Sri Lanka to directly use the Chinese currency RMB, rather than the US dollar, in trading between the two countries.
China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, speaking at the China Sri Lanka Infrastructure Investment Cooperation Forum in Colombo said Chinese President Xi Jinping had suggested to Sri Lankan leaders to use the Chinese RMB in trade and cooperation between China and Sri Lanka, as done in many other countries.
“This is done in countries such as Vietnam. Chinese companies will come back. Last year China, Sri Lanka trade is around $ 4.3 billion. If we can use Chinese currency RMB instead of the Dollar, we can do much more bilateral trade,” the Ambassador said.
He further said the Hambantota Port agreement signed between China Merchants Port Holdings and Sri Lanka Ports Authority last week, where China purchased 70 percent of the Port for 1.12 billion dollars, was a win win agreement for both countries and China had no intention of using it as a military base.
“Last Saturday we signed the Hambantota Port Agreement –it is the way we want- it is a business one, and no any strategic or security considerations from Chinese side. We have no idea for a military consideration here. It is just a business idea,” Xianliang said.
“I must tell you the Chinese company that constructed the port spent more than a billion dollars earlier and again poured another $ 1.5 billion so the total cost for them is more than $ 3 billion. Some people asked me whether we are crazy = why re-spend on the same port again? Even if we are re-spending, why not spend only around $ 600 million? I told them I am not the person making the decision but it’s a business issue between China Merchant and Port Authority of Sri Lanka,” he said.
However he said while “a port was just a port”, it could never be transformed into an industrial zone. He said he would put all the efforts to push the Hambantota industrial zone forward as this was also the need of the Sri Lankan people.
“Sri Lanka’s major infrastructures are OK. Airports, sea ports etc are fine. But you should have industry zones because your land is limited. You should assemble all industries to one or two zones with support of serious policy and logistics.”