China has begun establishing a rubber Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Sri Lanka. The arrangement will help promote the country’s rubber industry and boost sector earnings. In return, China is asking for long-term access to lands and tax concessions, according to various media reports.
The FTZ that will support private sector rubber manufacturers, exporters and planters was discussed by the vice governor of China’s Hainan province, Shen Danyang, and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Plantation Industries, Navin Dissanayake, in Colombo on 11 January 2019. Officials of the Chinese embassy in Colombo and from Sri Lanka’s Plantation Industries Ministry also attended the meeting.
The ministry said that the rubber based Free Trade Zone will be jointly established with the Chinese government and the Chinese State Council.
Officials have been invited to China to sign an agreement formalising the project that will reportedly take one to two years to launch.