Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena attended the 7th China South Asia Exposition and the 27th China Kunming Import and Export Fair as the Chief Guest from August 16–20, 2023.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Expo, the Prime Minister highlighted opportunities available for investment in Sri Lanka, including in the Colombo Port City and in the Hambanthota Industrial Zone, and urged investors to consider Sri Lanka as a top investment destination. He said that the strategic location of Sri Lanka in the middle of the Indian Ocean and in close proximity to the international sea lanes is an added advantage for investors.

The Prime Minister encouraged the tourists from Yunnan to visit Sri Lanka, considering the unique products that Sri Lanka offers and the short four-hour flight from Yunnan to Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka and Yunnan could expand trade in more areas. The other dignitaries who addressed the opening ceremony were Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav, Vice President of Nepal Pany Yathotou, Vice President of Laos Tran Luu Quang, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, and the Trade Minister of Myanmar.

The Prime Minister visited the Sri Lanka pavilion at the Expo, where more than 60 companies exhibited their products. The business delegation was organised by the Department of Commerce with the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, and Food Security in collaboration with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing.

The Prime Minister also held bilateral discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi on the sidelines of the seventh China-South Asian Expo in Kunming. The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for China’s steadfast support for Sri Lanka’s development and the cooperation and understanding between the two countries in regional and international forums. He thanked China for its assistance in overcoming the recent economic crisis and for the RMB 500 million in emergency humanitarian assistance. The Prime Minister extended his sincere appreciation to China for extending financial assurances towards Sri Lanka’s obtaining the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Arrangement.

Foreign Minister Wan Yi assured the Prime Minister that China would help Sri Lanka effectively address the challenges of debt management. He further said that China has been and is Sri Lanka’s reliable strategic partner and will assist in Sri Lanka’s economic development and poverty alleviation. Further, he appreciated the large number of Sri Lankan business delegates at this year’s China South Asia Expo.