News / Economy

China, Sri Lanka Could Sign Free Trade Pact in 2014

FILE - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa  in Colombo, Nov. 17, 2013.
FILE - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, Nov. 17, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— China and Sri Lanka could sign a free trade agreement by the end of the year, state news agency Xinhua cited Sri Lanka's foreign minister as saying, a move that will help cement Colombo's growing economic and diplomatic ties with Beijing.
      
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, who is on a four-day visit to China, said “the feasibility study is on the verge of completion.”
      
Peiris told Xinhua in an interview published late on Wednesday it would be the most significant bilateral achievement since the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact, when rubber and rice was bartered between China and Sri Lanka.
 
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Thursday that the two countries “are currently undertaking feasibility studies and look forward to starting the negotiations at an early date.”
      
China has signed a series of free trade agreements, mostly with smaller economies like New Zealand, Switzerland and Iceland, though it is currently negotiating more significant ones with Australia, South Korea and Japan.
 
China has increasingly tight ties with Sri Lanka, funding airports, roads, railways and ports. Those ties have unsettled India, traditionally Sri Lanka's closest economic partner.
      
Hua added that China was also seeking greater maritime cooperation with Sri Lanka, to build what she called a “21st-century Maritime Silk Road.”
      
“Our cooperation will range from maritime connectivity, the economy, technology, rescue and environmental protection to disaster mitigation and fishery,” she said, adding that other countries were welcome to join the initiative.
 
The island of 21 million people just off India's southern tip is at the forefront of competition between Asian giants China and India.
 
China has consistently defended Sri Lanka's rights record, which came under fire at a Commonwealth summit in November, saying Colombo had made big strides in promoting human rights and achieving national reconciliation over the years.
 
On Tuesday, China's Foreign Minister offered support for Sri Lanka after the United States said it would propose a U.N. resolution against Colombo over its human rights record.
 
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government, which finally crushed a 26-year rebellion by ethnic minority Tamil separatists in 2009, has rejected calls for an international inquiry into atrocities during the civil war.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.