It has been Wickremesinghe’s plan to make the US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port City, now being built by a Chinese company, a “Financial City” where persons from across South Asia and the globe, can transact financial business and also park their funds.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the Chinese bank, the Prime Minister said: “As the world’s fourth largest bank, the Bank of China, will help Sri Lanka link up with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); the vast Indian economy through the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA); and the European market through the General System of Preferences- Plus (GSP-Plus).”
Sri Lanka will be expanding its economic reach through a Free Trade Agreement with China and Singapore and also the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India, he added.
The Governor of the Sri Lankan Central Bank, Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, appealed to the bank for help to put Sri Lanka’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector on a path of expansion into the global market.
He said cheap credit from the Bank of China will be of immense help in this regard. The bank could also help SMEs network and become part of the international supply chain.
The Chairman of the Bank of China, Wang Xiquan, said that the bank is part and parcel of China’s Belt and Road Initiative which covers 70 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the world’s GDP, Wang said.
The Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, assured Prime Minister Wickremesinghe that the Bank of China will help Sri Lanka become the “financial hub of South Asia.”