Sri Lanka, China sign 300 mln USD investment agreement to manufacture tires in Hambantota

COLOMBO, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The agreement on a 300-million-U.S.-dollar investment to build a modern export-oriented tire factory in an industrial zone adjacent to the Hambantota International Port in southern Sri Lanka has been signed.

The ceremony was held on Thursday at the Board of Investment (BOI) auditorium in commercial capital Colombo with the attendance of Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Chairman of the BOI Susantha Ratnayake.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong attended the ceremony virtually.

CEO of China Merchants Port (CMP) Bai Jingtao and Chairman of Shandong Haohua Tire Wang Keqiang attended the ceremony virtually from China.

Ratnayake, CEO of Hambantota International Ports Group (HIPG) Ray Ren, and Operation Director of Shandong Haohua Tire Cao Mingzhang signed the agreement on behalf of the three parties.

Abeygunawardena welcomed the investment, saying that it would create 2,000 jobs.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Qi said that the decision by Shandong Haohua Tire to invest in Hambantota is "a vote of trust by Chinese companies in Sri Lanka."

Bai said the project will further contribute to Sri Lanka's rubber industry and plantations, create more employment opportunities, and enhance the port business.

According to the deal, Shandong Haohua Tire will invest 300 million U.S. dollars in 121 acres of land to build a factory that can produce 1.5 million steel radial tires and 7.5 million semi-steel radial tires a year.

Shandong Haohua Tire is one of the largest private tire manufacturers in China and exports to more than 200 countries and regions around the world.

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