COLOMBO, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka aims to implement a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in order to have preferential access to a market of 1.3 billion people, the country's state investment agency said here on Wednesday.
Both countries had recognized the benefits that can be leveraged through the positive relationship between trade and investment, the Board of Investments (BoI) said in a statement.
The island nation already has preferential trade agreements with India and Pakistan.
Sri Lanka had also drawn attention to possible Chinese involvement in the government's development plans, such as the Western Region Megapolis project, which includes infrastructure development, involving elevated highways, light railway and utilities as well as housing and commercial real estate.
The BoI said that the Sri Lankan government had also informed China that it was accelerating the implementation of ongoing Chinese project in the island nation and aimed to attract more Chinese tourists to visit Sri Lanka.
"Both sides recognized that China's Going Abroad strategy and Sri Lanka's very favorable location on the Maritime Silk Road provided a strong basis for strengthening Sino-Lanka economic relations," the BoI said.
It added that Sri Lanka had also paid its gratitude for China's support during the country's 30-year civil conflict as well as assistance for infrastructure development.
China has been Sri Lanka's biggest contributor of Foreign Direct Investments. Nearly 70 percent of the infrastructure projects in the country have been funded by China and built by Chinese companies.