Editor’s Item, News-in-Asia, 28 July 2018, where the title runs “Chief of Sri Lanka’s largest business chamber says China’s BRI an opportunity, not a threat”
Colombo, July 28 – China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), trade and infrastructure initiatives and investments in Sri Lanka’s ports could be seen as an opportunity and not a threat, the Economy Next quoting head of Sri Lanka’s biggest business chamber said.
ajendra TheagaRrajah, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said Sri Lankan businesses could not afford to ignore the evolving international trade patterns and the most visible of the two or three which are currently happening around Sri Lanka is the Maritime Silk Road initiative of China.
Commenting on the Belt and Road Initiative, Theagarajah said, “It is actually a necklace which the Chinese Government is intending to embrace, one in terms of the road connecting the eastern part of China with Western Europe. They will complete the necklace which they intend to cover through Sri Lanka.”
He further explained that Pakistan was already making use of China’s Maritime Silk Road, despite the internal conflicts they are currently facing, like what Sri Lanka faced for 30 years. Pakistan has allowed the Belt and Road Initiative to go through their country and have managed to get two bids for key infrastructure for the benefit of their country, Theagarajah said.
“The Chinese are to invest in something like 4200 megawatts of renewable energy in Pakistan, which is effectively taking care of their entire energy requirements,” he said. “The second thing is that, last year, based on public Google-able data, as a result of this road, cross border trade between Pakistan and the countries which embrace the Belt and Road Initiative increased by 15 percent to USD1.1 trillion,” Theagarajah added.
“It just gives you some idea of the opportunity regardless of politics, if you embrace something just happening around you.”