Standard Chartered bullish on port city investments | Sunday Observer

Standard Chartered bullish on port city investments

The Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), one of the main financiers of the Port City project, is optimistic about growing business opportunities in Sri Lanka with the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.

“We will set up a special China Desk to facilitate investor requirements and improve the understanding of the business environment in Sri Lanka as this will enable more Chinese investments into the country. This investor-friendly approach will attract more business and investments in terms of value and volume and Sri Lanka will benefit from this move,” SCB Chief Executive Officer Jim McCabe said.

The establishing the China Desk is critically important for the sustainability of the SCB strategy. This will improve the decision-making process and understanding of the clients in a homely atmosphere, he said.

“With regard to the SCB, over the past three years, overall net implementation of new businesses has increased. We target a 30 percent increase in businesses this year and there is a forward looking wave towards the future,” SCB Transaction Banking Head Sam Xu said. Chinese companies are getting extremely comfortable with opportunities in Sri Lanka. “However, we are still on an early stage of fact finding and could not say how many Chinese companies will be interested in investing in Sri Lanka and with projects of the magnitude of the Port City, the country will be open for more investments and the progress of the Port City is impressive, he said.

The One Belt, One Road, One Bank initiative also known as the New Silk Road Plan was initiated by the Chinese government in 2013 to promote free trade and connectivity between the Asian, European and African countries. The belt refers to the ancient Silk Road that connected China to Europe. Known as the Silk Road Economic Belt today, the belt consists of a network of overland roads and rail routes, oil and natural pipelines as well as other infrastructure projects.

The Chinese government will scale up financial support for the Belt and Road initiative by contributing an additional US $ 14.5 billion to the Silk Road Fund. China Development Bank and China Export and Import Bank will set up special lending schemes worth US $ 36.2 billion and $ 18.8 billion respectively to support the Belt and Road Corporation in infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing.

As of May 2017, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has provided $ 1.7 billion of loans for 9 projects in Belt and Road countries and the Silk Road Fund has invested $ 4 billion. The initiative is expected to boost regional connectivity and trade and demand for Chinese capital, consumer goods and service exports.

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