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China Engineering & Technology Expo starts in Colombo

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COLOMBO, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese engineering equipment attracted much attention of local audience at the China Engineering & Technology Expo which kicked off here Thursday.

More than 50 Chinese companies attended the expo, which is being held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the highest decision making body of the 53-member Commonwealth comprising Britain and its former colonies.

"Chinese companies have much experience in public works and infrastructure construction. This expo provides a good platform for the companies to promote their products and services to Sri Lankan people," said Yu Xiaohong, secretary general of China International Contractors Association.

Rishad Bathiudeen, minister of industry and commerce of Sri Lanka, said economic and trade ties between China and Sri Lanka have grown dramatically in recent years. "The Sri Lankan government is committed to promoting bilateral cooperation and I hope Sri Lankan companies can make full use of this expo to find partnership with their Chinese counterparts," he said.

China has been investing heavily in Sri Lanka, with loans and expertise instrumental in building ports, highways, railways, and power plants in the Indian Ocean nation.

In 2012, trade volume between the two countries increased 19.6 percent year on year to 2.68 billion U.S. dollars, with Chinese exports to Sri Lanka topping 2.5 billion dollars, representing a year-on-year rise of 20.7 percent.

Potevio, a state-owned communications company which attended the expo, entered the Sri Lankan market three years ago and registered an average annual growth of 50 percent.

"The Sri Lankan government is endeavoring to rebuild the country after the three-decade civil war ended in 2009. It needs investment and technology, which represents huge opportunity for Potevio," said Danny Liu, assistant to general manager of the International Business Division, under Potevio's Asia Business Department.

Liu said Potevio may consider building factories in Sri Lanka in the future, as the country's infrastructure and transportation have improved and labor costs are competitive compared with those in China.

The CHOGM, which is held every two years, will take place in Sri Lanka from Friday to Sunday, the first time an Asian country is hosting the summit in 24 years.

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