Japanese Finance Minister’s Official Visit Strengthens Economic Ties with Sri Lanka
January 13, Colombo (LNW): Japan’s Finance Minister, Suzuki Shunichi, concluded a two-day official visit (11-12) to Sri Lanka, aiming to deepen economic relations amid the economic challenges faced by the country. The visit is particularly significant as Sri Lanka implements comprehensive reform measures focused on macro stability and debt sustainability.
During the visit, Minister Shunichi expressed strong admiration for President Ranil Wickremesinghe, acknowledging significant improvements in Sri Lanka’s economy. Positive trends in GDP and inflation indicators were specifically attributed to the President’s strong leadership. The Japanese Finance Minister conveyed deep respect for President Wickremesinghe’s demonstrated leadership in achieving these economic improvements.
The talks between the two leaders covered future collaborations, emphasizing areas such as information-technological cooperation, maritime-security collaboration, resumption of stalled projects, long-term bilateral cooperation, finalization of debt restructuring agreements, and pipeline projects.
Both leaders expressed mutual appreciation for the ongoing support and cooperation between Japan and Sri Lanka. President Wickremesinghe conveyed his gratitude for Japan’s crucial role in addressing Sri Lanka’s debt issues, expressing confidence in the deepening ties between the two nations.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized the need for further collaboration in a competitive green economy and a digital economy. He stressed the importance of focusing on exports to enhance the trade balance and expressed optimism for the realization of a new economic model in Sri Lanka.
The discussions also touched upon the potential resumption of yen loans, which were suspended due to a debt crisis. Minister Shunichi outlined the possibility pending the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and continued debt sustainability monitored by the IMF.
The meetings between the Japanese Finance Minister and President Wickremesinghe aim to fortify ties and lay the groundwork for a more robust and cooperative economic relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka.