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Sri Lankan PM in Thailand to strengthen trade, investment, religious ties

COLOMBO, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held discussions in Bangkok on Wednesday with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen trade, investment and religious ties, said a statement from the office of the Sri Lankan prime minister.

Noting that Sri Lanka and Thailand have a strong cultural and religious bond because of their shared Buddhist heritage, the statement said that the Siam Nikaya, which originated in Thailand, is one of the most revered monastic orders in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is Thailand's fourth-largest trade partner in South Asia, and Sri Lanka's main exports to Thailand include gems, jewellery, tea, spices, fiber, and metal products, said the statement.

The Thai prime minister suggested that the countries could encourage cooperation by leveraging their different comparative advantages, adding that Colombo Port City is a great opportunity for all the countries in Asia, and many Thai entrepreneurs will invest in Port City.

According to the statement, the Thai prime minister opined that Thailand is well placed to polish and cut gemstones from Sri Lanka, as well as market them, and this division of labor would also help to reduce direct competition on the global market for both countries.

Gunawardena, who is on a three-day visit to Thailand, briefed the Thai prime minister about the plans implemented by the government to overcome the economic crisis and revive economic activities, stressing the government's plans to have close economic cooperation with ASEAN member countries, the statement said.