Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said that there are three main economic activities in the world. The world cannot survive without the more effective exchange of the world’s wealth to fulfill human needs and the ways in which the world’s resources can be divided are diverse.
The Minister was speaking at a program jointly organised by China Media Group’s Asia and Africa Language Program Centre for the 10th anniversary of the One Belt One Road proposal and the fifth anniversary of the Seda Harasara television program.
Due to the disparity in the distribution of resources, international trade has arisen since ancient times to fulfill the needs of the world. India and China become its very old allies in the process.
The religious and cultural transformations that occurred in Sri Lanka after Mahindagamanaya were the centres of knowledge in Sri Lanka’s temples such as Abhayagiriya and Mahavihara.
The Chinese bhikkhu Fa Hsien came to Sri Lanka to get this study after staying at the Mahavihara and he has left various stories about the land of Sri Lanka.
The Minister said that these facts have been mentioned in the Sinhala translation of Prof. Wimal Balagalle’s book on ‘The Travels of Fa Hsien’.
Dr. Gunawardena said that before China and the West, other Arab countries and other countries used Sri Lanka as an exchange centre for international trade and that is why it has been subjugated to other nations.
He also said that respect should be given to China which didn’t subjugate us and maintains a close friendship with us from those days without resorting to any conflicts. One of the reasons why we became a colony is the importance of our country in international trade relations.
In order to maintain international trade and exchange from the conflicts of the whole world, the services that help it should be relatively developed.
China has the leading position among Asian countries with the education, discipline and technology required to make that progress. Therefore, the aim of the One Road One Belt program is to exchange international products in a massively efficient and effective way between countries that do not have such capabilities, he said.
The Minister said we have been maintaining trade agreements with other countries for a long time. But the China Free Trade Agreement is not completed as yet.
It can be considered as a golden opportunity for Sri Lankan exporters to get space in a huge market through the China Free Trade Agreement.
As a closer friend, in 1952, when we had a shortage of food in the domestic market, a China-Lanka Rubber Rice Agreement was implemented. Since then, if a trade agreement has been implemented without a crisis, it is only the China Rubber Rice Agreement.
In spite of being an open economy in 1982, the Sri Lankan people should continue to maintain the friendship with China by further promoting the agreement reached with the China Rubber Rice Agreement, the Minister said.