Trade relations between Sri Lanka and China span a long history going back to several centuries. The period beginning from 1952 opened a new chapter in trade relations between the two countries, with the signing of a Trade Agreement relating to barter trade on rubber and rice.
Sri Lanka’s exports to China have in the recent past increased tremendously reaching 153 million US Dollars in 2011 from 102 million US Dollars in 2010. Imports from China to Sri Lanka also has increased to 2, 989 million US Dollars in 2011 from 1, 995 million US Dollars in 2010. Total trade between Sri Lanka and China has increased by 50% in 2011 as could be seen from the following table.
Potential products to import from Sri Lanka
• Gems and Jewellery
• Rubber and rubber based products
• Coir fiber and coconut based products
• Fisheries produts
• Handicrafts and gift items
Access to Key Markets
At regional level Sri Lanka is a member of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA).
Sri Lanka is a founding member of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-RAC).
Sri Lanka is also a member of the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP).
Sri Lanka has also entered into two bilateral trade agreements: the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) and the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA), signed in 1998 and 2002 respectively.
As a founder member of the GATT / World Trade Organization (WTO), Sri Lanka has been an active participant in the multilateral trade negotiations.
Sri Lanka’s preferential exports under the Asia Pacific Trading Agreement ( APTA)
Sri Lanka and China are members of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) which was formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement signed in 1975. Member countries of APTA are Bangladesh, China, India, Republic of Korea, Lao People s Democratic Republic and Sri Lanka.
APTA is important to Sri Lanka as it is the only trade agreement Sri Lanka partakes with China and the Republic of Korea. APTA being a dynamic regional agreement has been instrumental in producing favourable outcome to Sri Lanka. Coir products, apparel, tea, natural rubber, fish products, activated carbon, Gems & jewellery, are the main exports to China from Sri Lanka under the APTA.
Promotion of Sri Lanka products through Exhibitions in China
Sri Lanka is keen to promote export products in China through effective promotional tools with the assistance of the Chinese Government, especially through participation in trade Exhibitions.