SEZ AGREEMENT WITH CHINA BEFORE YEAR-END | Daily News

SEZ AGREEMENT WITH CHINA BEFORE YEAR-END

 

The government intends to sign the agreement with China on the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Hambantota before the year-end, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. The Chinese SEZ would be implemented in three stages, he told the Daily News adding that the government would employ 400,000 directly or indirectly in its initial stages.

The government hopes to initiate 2,400 projects within the Chinese SEZ, the minister said, emphasising that the zone, although managed by Sri Lanka and China, would not be restricted to Chinese investors but open to other investors as well.

Earlier this year, China expressed interest in acquiring 15,000 acres for a SEZ they hoped would create one million jobs. The request elicited a positive response from the Sri Lankan government, which recently unveiled ambitious plans for a comprehensive development programme in the South.

Last week, the government revealed a public-private partnership (PPP) with China Merchant group - a USD 1 billion debt-for-equity swap that would ease some of the burdens on the debt-strapped government.

Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said the first phase of the proposed PPP with China Merchant would begin in January 2017, and will utilise an initial area of 15 square km around the currently unused port.

China has also informed the government of its willingness to invest in an LNG Power plant, a refinery, a cement factory and dockyard, at a total investment of approximately USD 8 billion in Hambantota, the deputy minister said.


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