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During the early period of the Rubber – Rice Pact, China even assisted Ceylon to replant the uneconomical rubber plantations, by granting around Rs 125 million to cover a part of the cost. Kelegama on “The significance of the Ceylon – China Trade agreement of 1952″, which covered all the details pertaining to the Rubber – Rice Pact and its advantages gained by Sri Lanka.

By the early eighties, Sri Lanka became almost self-sufficient in rice, and large imports were not required any further. A commemorative stamp and a first day cover were issued at this event, and a special full page newspaper supplement was published to mark the occasion.

At the same time, China was able to purchase its requirement of natural rubber without any restriction from the producing countries. The Rubber- Rice Pct was the starting point for the expansion of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and China, leading its way to closer and stronger economic cooperation between the two countries. The Rubber – Rice Pact, though is not in effect at present, paved the way to establish and strengthen the bi-lateral business relationship between Sri Lanka and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

It was promptly followed by the establishment of diplomatic relations with China, in 1957. The writer is President of the Sri Lanka China Business Cooperation Council from 2002 to 2012).

China continued to purchase Sri Lanka’s rubber at a higher price, even when other producers were prepared to sell them rubber at lower prices.Despite the shortage and exorbitantly high price, the government was compelled to buy its requirement to feed the nation.But it didn’t have sufficient foreign funds to continue with the purchases, and furthermore the rice obtained from the United States and Ecuador was not to the taste of the Sri Lankan palate.During the same period the international demand for natural rubber decreased due to the introduction of synthetic rubber as a substitute, which resulted in lowering the price of the natural rubber, on which export Sri Lankan economy depended.

Thus, Sri Lanka had to face a severe economic crisis.

The agreement provided provisions for renewal by mutual consent, and it was renewed every five years for six times, and was in effect until 1982.

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