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Special Port City Law in final stage - Dr. Harsha De Silva

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Sri Lanka would extend its partnership with China beyond trade and investment to enhance regional security to combat terrorism and support a solution for climate change, non-Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Dr. Harsha De Silva said.

He was speaking at the opening of a photo exhibition titled '40 years of Reforms and Opening Policy of China' held at the BMICH.

The special law that would govern the Colombo International Financial City (CIFC) also known as Colombo Port City, is in the final stage and will be presented to the Cabinet and the Parliament soon, he said.

"As the Chairman of the Steering Committee for infrastructure development of reclaimed land, a team of lawyers at the Attorney General's (AG) Department are working on the Port City Law and we hope that we will be able to submit the draft to Cabinet and Parliament soon. The Law would cover the jurisdiction of the Port City, so that Chinese investment could continue," De Silva said.

He said, it is not only Chinese investments but investors Worldwide would invest on newly reclaimed land.

Dr. De Silva said that 85% of China's energy and mineral resources are sent to Africa transitting through regional ports, including Hambantota and in the future, Sri Lanka will look to develop the necessary infrastructure to create value addition as well. Cooperation between China and Sri Lanka will also be crucial in the development of Hambantota and other industrial zones, he added.

He said, Chinese investment will put Sri Lanka on the map when the Port City becomes the hub for offshore financial and knowledge service in South Asia.

De Silva said as the Chinese economy grew so did exports from Sri Lanka to China.

Between 2005 and 2012, Sri Lanka's exports to China doubled from USD 100 million to USD 200 million. However, the Minister said this revenue was nothing compared to what we could really achieve. "Trade between the two countries must expand far more than what it is now," he said.

De Silva also said "We should be soon be talking about Sri Lanka's export to China in terms of billions of U.S. Dollars and not in millions of U.S. Dollars".

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