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During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Colombo in September 2014, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCC), signed an investment agreement for Colombo Port City development. The project entailed building a modern city on land reclaimed from the sea with the largest FDI of $1.4 billion Chinese investment. The project was suspended in 2015 owing to concerns like sovereignty, corruption, environmental issues, and regime change. The construction under 1st phase resumed in 2016 and is expected to be completed in April 2024. The project, known as Colombo International Financial City, is

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Colombo in September 2014, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCC), signed an investment agreement for Colombo Port City development. It entailed building a modern city on land reclaimed from the sea with the largest FDI of $1.4 billion Chinese investment. The project was suspended in 2015 owing to environmental concerns and regime change. However, the construction under 1st phase resumed in 2016 and is expected to be completed in April 2024. The project, also known as Colombo International Financial City, is being executed on a public-private partnership (PPP) in two phases. Last year, Sri Lankan Parliament, with amendments, approved Port City Economic Commission Bill (granting major representation to Chinese experts), declaring 269 hectares of land as the country’s first SEZ to promote industrialization.The amendments were made to allay the opposition’s concerns pertaining to the state’s sovereignty and socio-economic development. It will reserve 75% jobs for locals facilitating the unskilled too. It is reported that the increased foreign exchange inflows into the port city project and the construction of a duty-free zone would help Sri Lanka mitigate its forex crisis. However, locals have expressed concerns over coastal erosion, air pollution and increased traffic. It is noted that the completion of the project would create 100,000 permanent jobs. Another report hinted creation of 200,000 jobs in the first five years, with the maximum going to locals. The government has equally encouraged global and local investments in the port city. Moreover, at the external level, the US, warry of increasing Chinese influence in the region, cautioned that the port city could turn into ‘money laundering heaven’.

Source

https://china.aiddata.org/projects/33431/

https://fsi.stanford.edu/publication/locked-china-colombo-port-city-project

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/chinas-president-xi-jinping-kicks-off-177-billion-sri-lanka-port-city-development

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/2021-05/21/c_139959878.htm

https://www.dailymirror.lk/business-news/Colombo-Port-City-to-lead-Sri-Lanka-out-of-foreign-exchange-crisis/273-232585

https://thediplomat.com/2021/05/china-in-sri-lanka-the-colombo-port-conundrum/

https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/why-new-bill-makes-colombo-port-city-a-chinese-province-in-sri-lanka/

https://www.ft.lk/top-story/Govt–calls-on-global–local-firms-to-invest-in-Port-City/26-718266colombo_port_city.pdf (amazonaws.com)

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