Oct 13, 2016 (LBO) - Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a very important role for a country to develop its trade and export growth, a senior Chinese official said. "FDI is important for trade growth as it brings money, technological advantages and the latest management ideas which drive indigenous and innovative growth,” Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce, China said. “In China foreign firms have invested 1.7 trillion dollars accounting for 40 percent of China's exports, 10 percent of tax revenues, 40 percent of total employment." He was speaking at the inauguration of the World Export Development Forum 2016 in Colombo, Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s exports, as a percent of GDP, fall far below other countries in the region. Last year, exports as a percentage of GDP was 12.8 percent, while Vietnam recorded 83.7 percent, Malaysia 67.5 percent, Thailand 54.2 percent and Singapore 119.7 percent. Shouwen says it is important for developing economies to join regional economic integration efforts. “It is good to see that Sri Lanka has initiated several important free trade agreements with other countries.” "FTAs between countries that have different levels of development promote industrial co-operation, trade and investment flows.” However, he says FTAs with a country will not substitute World Trade Organization efforts. “They can only be seen as a supplement for it.” Sri Lanka is presently in FTA talks with China, Singapore and an economic deal with India, while several other trade agreements are being explored. Also speaking at the event Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that incentives will be announced soon for foreign direct investments and local investments to accelerate investments.