Minister Basil Attends “Sri Lanka Shines in Shanghai”!

As a part of his official tour of China, the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, visited Shanghai as Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Trade and Commerce from 3rd to 6th July 2014. This visit also coincided with the “Sri Lanka Shines in Shanghai” promotional event, co-ordinated by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Development.
During the visit, Minister Basil Rajapaksa met the Mayor of Shanghai, Yang Xiong on 4th July. Among others present from the Shanghai side were Shang Yu Ying, Chair of Shanghai Municipal Commission for Commerce, Yang Jing Song, Chairman of Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and Wang Xin Ling, Deputy Director of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Sri Lankan delegation included the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China, Ranjith Uyangoda, Secretary, Industry and Commerce Anura Siriwardane, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Shanghai, Hasanthi Dissanayake, and Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Bashwara Gunarathna.

Yang Xiong referred to the long standing Sri Lanka – China bilateral relations and emphasized the sister city/province cooperation Shanghai has with the Western Provincial Council as well as the City of Colombo and welcomed the series of activities to promote Sri Lanka trade and tourism in Shanghai, as yet another facet of bilateral co-operation to bring Sri Lanka closer to the hearts of Shanghainese. While admiring the speed of post-conflict development in Sri Lanka, he added that the participation of the Minister of Economic Development in the promotional event adds further impetus to enhanced cooperation between the tourism and trade sectors of Shanghai and Sri Lanka.

“As a major trading port in China, Shanghai is speeding up its construction in international economy, finance, trade and shipping center, through establishment of the pilot free trade zone and facilitating investment and trade” he added. He emphasized that Shanghai is willing to work with Sri Lanka based free trade zones to strengthen exchanges and cooperation and further promote investment and trade .

Minister Basil Rajapaksa briefed the Shanghai Mayor on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict economic and social development, including the major development work in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. He expressed his gratitude to China and to Shanghai for their assistance towards development of Sri Lanka and welcomed investors and tourists from Shanghai. Minister Rajapaksa also highlighted the value addition of sister city/province cooperation which is an excellent platform to further expand exchanges and cooperation in the fields of trade, tourism, ports, etc.

“Sri Lanka Shines in Shanghai” included a Press Launch on 1st July attended by nearly 100 media personnel, followed by Business-to-Business meetings which gave an invaluable opportunity to over 80 Sri Lankan business representatives to interact with over 170 Chinese tour operators and 160 trade representatives on 4th July. The highlight of the event was the Gala Night on 4th July attended by over 550 Chinese officials, business, culture and media personnel who were treated to exotic Sri Lankan dancing and some dance items from China, especially from Shanghai. The Gala Night was graced by Madam Zhang Lili, Standing Committee Member and the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress on the sidelines of these activities from 4th to 6th July, a trade fair and Sri Lankan performances took place for the public at the Nanjing Pedestrian Street Century Square, which attracted over 20,000 visitors. All events had raffles draws offering free air tickets to Sri Lanka, package tours, and many Sri Lankan luxury products.

Shan Wijayalal, Chief Minister of the Southern Provincial Council and Z. A. Nazeer Ahamed, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Production & Development, Rural Industries Development, Fisheries & Tourism of the Eastern Provincial Council were also special guests at the events.

The Shanghai Municipal Commission for Commerce was responsible for the visit of Minister Basil Rajapaksa as well as “Sri Lanka Shines in Shanghai”, while the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Shanghai coordinating other related activities of the visit, in conjunction with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Sri Lanka Tea Board, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, SriLankan Airlines, National Craft Council, Laksala and Associations connected to the tourism industry.