Colombo Port City Agreement

In this case, it is the difficult situation of a small nation, burdened by Chinese debt and accumulated by infrastructure projects under the aegis of the Chinese initiative One Belt One Road. Until 2016, the Sri Lankan government owed China $8 billion (nearly 10% of GDP), mainly through loans for the construction of a number of infrastructure projects, many of which have been found to be commercially unviable. Most of them were approved by the previous government led by President Rajapaksa. The Colombo Port City project was the largest and most ambitious of all. Designed as a project to create high-end real estate by extracting land at sea, it was approved in 2014 as a joint venture between a Chinese SOE and the Sri Lankan government. From the beginning, this project proved controversial because it would have had an impact on the environment, and sparked strong public outcry. There were also serious concerns that the agreement would impose incriminating obligations on the Sri Lankan government, including a compromise on its sovereignty. This last point is of particular importance to Sri Lanka`s main trading partner and its influential neighbour, India. Co-cabinet spokesman and media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said there was no debate on renegotiating the Port City agreement. However, prior to the elections, the government said it would review the agreement to determine whether there were clauses inconsistent with the Constitution, while clauses affecting the country`s national security would also be reviewed.

The CIFC real estate complex was approved for construction in December 2018. [19] The city will use construction equipment from the Colombo Port Expansion Project, which is currently close to the planned city site. [2] Under the new agreement, responsibility for the exercise of state responsibilities, including the amendment of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act, rests with the Ministry of Ports and Navigation. In place of the agreement signed by the previous government on 16 September 2014, a new trilateral agreement will be signed between the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development (on behalf of the government), the UDA and the project company. The port city was described as a concept of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, apparently inspired when he inspected the landfill built for the port of Colombo South. [6] [7] [8] The modern port city was indeed an unsolicited proposal submitted by the China Harbour Engineering Company on the basis of previous proposals. [9] It was proposed that the CIFC be governed by an independent authority and not attached to the Colombo City Council. A specific legal framework would allow the ICFC to act on a single set of commercial law relating to contracts and commercial transactions with its own Special Financial Tribunal Colombo, which serves as a trial court, and the appeal of the Sri Lanka Supreme Court. It would have its own arbitration bodies. Make it a city that operates according to its own rules. [20] [21] This has led to accusations that it could become a hub for money laundering by corrupt elements. [22] In accordance with the original agreement, a real estate management company (EMC), wholly owned by GOSL, would manage, maintain and repair the common parts of the port city by collecting investor management fees.