Your Excellency Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China
Your Excellency Mr. Almazbek Atambayev, President of Kyrgyzstan
Your Excellency Mr. Kazim Masimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
Your Excellency, Mr.Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
Your Excellency Mr. Akil Akilov, Prime Minister of Tajikistan
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am greatly honored to be here at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd China-Eurasia Expo & the 2nd China-Eurasia Economy Development and Cooperation Forum. It is also my distinct honor and privilege to convey to the Government and the friendly people of Xinjiang, the warm greetings and sincere good wishes on my own behalf and on behalf of the Government and people of the Maldives.
Over the course of the last six decades, China has made a triumphant transformation and its achievements, as a nation, are cause for great celebration and jubilation. As China continues to make great strides in the various facets of its development, it has indeed become an outstanding example of the good international citizen.
The Maldives has always looked to China as an invaluable friend. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, the contribution from China to the social, cultural and economic development of our country is immense and numerous For over two decades, China has supported housing development in the Maldives, along with other infrastructure projects. The support towards promoting athletics and other sports as well as cultural cooperation is noteworthy.
I am also happy to note that trade and investment flows have continued to increase between our two countries. This forum therefore presents us with an opportunity to thank China for her role as an enduring and supportive partner of the Maldives. I have no doubt that the traditional bonds of friendship and cooperation that we have enjoyed over the past four decades will continue to grow and expand in the years to come.
We recognize China as one of the leading economic powers globally, and we are keen to strengthen our relationship with the country. Maldives has always promoted an open economy with liberal trade and investment policies. We are happy to note that we maintain one of the most liberal trade regimes in the SAARC region.
To further strengthen our investment policies, the Government is taking steps to further improve the legal and regulatory framework governing private sector growth and foreign direct investments. Maldives is open for business and it is with pleasure that I note, companies from China are already involved in Maldives. I call upon potential investors to consider Maldives as an attractive investment destination in addition to a popular tourist destination. Potential opportunities are available in real estate development, especially residential and mixed development projects, public infrastructure projects as well as investments in the tourism sector.
Maldives is a country highly dependent on imports and a huge proportion of total imports to the Maldives are from China. And in recent years, China has also become our leading tourism market with over 15% of the market share. The Maldives exports fresh and chilled yellow fin tuna to China. With the enhancement of the Zero Tariff Agreement between Maldives and China in 2010, the Government is keen to explore other ranges of fishery and other types of products that Maldives can potentially export to China.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you would be aware, the business links between the Maldives and China is a vital component of the long-standing relations between the two countries. I am positive that these existing ties of friendship and cooperation between our two countries will continue to expand and develop in the years ahead and look forward to working with the Government of China in this regard.
Once again, I wish to convey my heartiest congratulations to the Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) of the Ministry of Commerce, Department of Commerce of Xinjiang for organizing this most valuable platform for dialogue and cooperation and extend my best wishes for its success.
I look forward to strengthened relations between the Maldives and China.
Thank you all and good evening once again