Chinese delegation to Sri Lanka inks SME pacts, clinches many B2Bs

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Dec 10, 2019 (LBO) – Facilitated by Sri Lanka’s Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI), the high powered Chinese team moved on 9 December for closer B2B and technological ties with leading Sri Lankan industrialists and SMEs by inking two landmark Cooperation Agreements with COSMI.

“Our Mianyan is an important pivot city on the junction of One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. It is the most dynamic city on the China OBOR belt. Mianyan is the only science and technological city approved by the Chinese government. It is also one of eight Chinese national ‘layout areas’ for systematic promotion of comprehensive innovation and a leading electronic and intelligent manufacturing hub with multiple research and tech centres, and is the second largest economy in Sichuan province” hailed Zhang Zhongcheng, Chairman of China Sichuan Province’ Mianyang Association of Commerce (MAC).

Addressing the pioneering MoU signing and B2B event between them and Sri Lanka’s COSMI at Hilton Colombo, Chairman Zhongcheng-the leader of the 15 member Mianyang business and tech delegation to Sri Lanka-stressed: “We shall exchange cooperative information and intentions, and also hold one-to-one meetings with SMEs and leading industry representatives of Sri Lanka.”

Joining Chairman Zhongcheng in Colombo to ink MoUs and lead business negotiations were John Luo Chairman of Mianyang Enterprise Union for Import and Export, and Ms Yuan Wenyan, Secretary General of Mianyang Association of Commerce, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of International Cooperation Susil Premajayantha (who witnessed the signing of the two Agreements), COSMI Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen, its Governing Council Chairman Macky Hashim and founding member Hui Dias Bandaranayake.

A Cooperation Framework Agreement between COSMI and China Mianyang Enterprise Union for Import and Export, and a Strategic Cooperation Agreement between COSMI and Sichuan Yiyang Xuanyu Trading Co. Ltd were inked at this event.

“We are committed to improve bilateral and trade relations with friendly countries” said Minister Premajayantha and added: “In recent years China improved a lot in emerging technologies such as nanotech and biotech. If you start here, Sri Lanka gets that advanced technical knowhow. The Government, especially the President, guarantees the security of the people and your businesses-we assure you that security not only for visiting persons but even for your businesses.”

Over the years, China-Sri Lanka relations have grown in many ways-including bilateral trade. In 2017, China was the second largest supplier (Sri Lanka’s second largest source of imports) to Sri Lanka’s imports, though a year earlier in 2016, China briefly rose to become the topmost supplier to Sri Lanka for the first time.

Total bilateral trade between both countries in 2017 was at US $ 4.6, a large 4.7-fold growth from a decade back at US $ 965 Mn (in 2007). In the same period Sri Lanka’s exports to China rose by 11-fold to total US $ 415 Mn (in 2017).

On its part, COSMI believes that Asia Pacific region can play an important role in providing new technology and machinery to improve quality and productivity of Sri Lankan SMEs. COSMI President Rajabdeen said that he believes there are two million SMEs and micro enterprises in Sri Lanka.

“COSMI works for the revival of industrial sector in Sri Lanka that now faces various setbacks including lack of new tech and international links. This is why we bring international businesses here and link them to our local SMEs for investment and cooperation. COSMI is now planning an industrial machinery expo to be held in Sri Lanka next year” he added.

On December 9, the visiting Chinese businesses took part in many one-to-one B2B ‘COSMI matchmaking sessions’ with eager Lankan firms. COSMI has been founded recently by a group of Sri Lankan industry experts and business chamber veterans, and aims to become the voice for Sri Lanka’s Industrial Small and Medium Enterprises (ISMEs).