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Sri Lanka aims to increase trade with China

Updated: 2013-11-22 13:38
( Xinhua)

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday presented his government's budget for 2014 projecting an economic growth of 7.5 percent.

The budget contained a slew of important policies which were laid down to increase economic growth including trade with China, Japan and India.

"We are trying to increase more avenues for export through bilateral exports with these countries," President Rajapaksa told parliament.

This followed close on the heels of Sri Lanka and China holding discussions to formulate a Free Trade Agreement between both countries, which will likely be signed next year.

Trade between Sri Lanka and China was $2.6 billion in 2012 but the advantage is significantly in China's favor with Sri Lanka's share at only $108 million.

Sri Lanka's largest trading partner is India, which clocked up $5 billion in trade last year and aims to double it by 2016.

Sri Lanka is also considering talks with Japan on a separate FTA, Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara had announced earlier.

The budget policies are also aimed at further reducing poverty, improving infrastructure facilities, increasing efficiency among state and the private sectors and providing long term concessions to the people.

This is Independent Sri Lanka's 67th budget and the ninth budget presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the finance and planning Minister, in itself a record for a head of state.

President Rajapaksa who assumed office as the fifth executive president on November 19, 2005, presented his first budget in the same year.