Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the country for a two day official visit a short while ago.
President Xi Jinping and Chinese First Lady were received at the Bandaranaike International Airport by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
President Xi Jinping’s visit to Sri Lanka is the first by a Chinese President after a lapse of 28 years.
Sri Lanka and China in recent years have developed increasingly closer economic and trade relations and a proposed free trade agreement between the two countries will boost Sri Lanka's future development.
During President Rajapaksa's state visit to China in May 2013 both leaders agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to a 'Strategic Cooperation Partnership', by substantially expanding the mandate for engagement.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit the two sides will launch negotiations on the FTA.
Sri Lanka hopes the FTA will help the country to gain easier access to the Chinese market and gradually reduce its trade deficit towards the world's second largest economy.
Some of Sri Lanka's main export items to China include coir fiber, garments, tea, rubber and precious stones, among others.
China has become Sri Lanka's second largest trade partner and the second largest sources of imports to the island with imports from China on a range of items have increased in recent years.
Some of the main import items include cotton, textiles, iron and steel, vehicles and parts, and plastic products, among others.
In addition to the enhanced trade cooperation, China has become the largest investor in Sri Lanka.
Loans and investments from China have played a significant role in Sri Lanka's post-war reconstruction.
Major projects that have received Chinese assistance include the second international airport in Mattala, Hambantota international port, Norochcholai coal power plant, Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, Southern Expressway extension to Matara and the Moragahakanda multi-purpose irrigation project among others.
China has also become a major source of tourist arrivals to the island. Related story published below :http://www.hirunews.lk/92194/chinese-president-xi-jing-ping-arrives-in-sri-lanka-today