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China and Sri Lanka seen concluding free trade pact by end of 2014

Published on Feb 13, 2014 10:39 AM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China and Sri Lanka could sign a free trade agreement by the end of the year, state news agency Xinhua cited Sri Lanka's foreign minister as saying.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, who is on a four-day visit to China, said "the feasibility study is on the verge of completion".

Peiris told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday it would be the most significant bilateral achievement since the 1952 Rubber-Rice Pact, when rubber and rice was bartered between China and Sri Lanka.

China has increasingly tight ties with Sri Lanka, funding airports, roads, railways and ports. Those ties have unsettled India, traditionally Sri Lanka's closest economic partner.

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