US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina B. Teplitz, expressed concern over Sri Lanka’s trading relationship with China emphasising the importance of “free trade and a fair investment climate”.
In her statement, she highlighted that according to a 2019 World Bank study more than 60 per cent of PRC-funded BRI projects are allocated to Chinese companies. The processes behind this are not transparent.
“The World Bank called for open and transparent public procurement to increase the likelihood that BRI projects are allocated to the firms best placed to implement them. Sri Lankan think tank Verité Research analysed 50 high-value loans from the PRC to Sri Lanka. All but one loan (where data was available) were 100 per cent “tied” – meaning the loan terms dictated that contracts and tenders be awarded to Chinese contractors, limiting the ability of Sri Lankan and global firms to compete for these projects. Fair competition would lower prices and ensure better quality,” she said.
Teplitz further maintained that concern that Sri Lanka is vulnerable in its trading relationship with China.
This statement follows Sri Lanka’s recent downgrading by the credit rating agency, Moody, from a B2 to a CAA1.
Read Teplitz’s original interview with Daily Mirror here.