Published:  01:13 AM, 10 July 2019

Dhaka-Beijing economic ties at new heights

Dhaka-Beijing economic ties at new heights

Actually, China - Bangladesh bilateral relations started moving fast when Chinese President Xi Jinping came Bangladesh in October, 2016.

So, the year -2016 has been significantone toussince XiJinping always showed positive approach to stand by Bangladesh in any situation while visiting Dhaka. His two- day historic state visit indicated that China would remain beside Bangladesh as "all- weather friendship". Finally, he went back China from Bangladesh by doing much for the sake of our economy.

That should be noted with pride that in an article published in The Daily Star said that China's USD 38 billion investment in Bangladesh, in combination with USD 24.45 billion in bilateral assistance for infrastructure projects and USD 13.6 billion in joint ventures in addition to the USD 20 billion in loan agreements that were made soon after the visit of President Xi. So, it can be easily said that this friendship never ends. 

To move our economy forward rapidly, Bangladesh now needs foreign entrepreneurs with huge capital. Bangladesh economy currently wants to see   foreign direct investment (FDI) to be become middle-income countries one by 2021.

Its steadily growth must turn the economy into competitive one if FDI is brought from world's developed economies through persuasion by state chief. China is contributing on our economy in many ways since 1975. According to Bangladesh Bank( BB) , gross FDI inflows from China during October-December, 2018 recorded USD 228 million where from India USD 24 million and Japan 33 million. 

Bangladesh is the second trading partner of China in terms of import of electronics items and defense materials. BB sources said imports payments to China in 2016-17 recorded USD 10,194 million which shares   25.2% of total import payments.

In respect of export, the products of made-in Bangladesh are gradually being accepted to them. Nevertheless, economic activities with China have been recorded better with the rise of export volume.  According to published report in a daily, in 2017- 18, Bangladesh exported US$ 36.67 billion worth of goods and services and its plan to raise the export volume to US$ 72 billion by 2023-24.

Following Xi Jinping's strong promise done in 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently flown to China hoping to get more than expectations.  Finally, she came back in the home land from China with ray of hope since nine instruments are already been signed in Beijing in presence of two premiers.

The signed instruments are likely to force our economy. Moreover, her visit has been tremendous successes one as humanitarian crisis-Rohingya issue has been put in place with great emphasize before Chinese people to be resolved. Sheikh Hasina returned home with carrying promisingmessage that China must take the responsibility of resolving Rohingya issue.

I think prime minister should have discussed on the issue: China- Bangladesh- India-Myanmar Economic corridor (BCIM-EC) under "Belt and Road Initiative" ( BRI) undertaken by Chinese president Xi in 2013because this long  economic ways  would turn our economy into developed one soon. India is seldom seen a little interest regarding implementation of BRI project.

We have to show our enthusiasm towards BRI for the region's greater interest. Prime minister should have talked with Chinese manpower agency to recruit our low-skilled people as workers. BB sources said in 2017-18, USD 9.37 million and USD 21.25 million came in Bangladesh as remittance from China and Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China where many countries contribute more. Foreign remittance is now important to make import payment.

We will be highly benefited economically if China shows keen interest to use Bangladeshi products. Export volume of Bangladeshi products in China is not satisfactory at all where export receipts of Bangladesh from USA registered USD 1173 million, from UK USD 734 million, from Germany USD 1209 million during the period January - March, 2019, BB sources said. I am sorry to say that Bangladesh' export receipts from China only USD 153 million recorded during said period. Hence, there is no alternative to increase export items in China.

Itis internationallywell-known that China is market leader in respect of producing apparel products where Bangladesh's position is second. I will tell the globally renewedChinese business people to invest our garment sectors to gain both.

I will never deny the role China in ongoing mega projects but in this moment our expectations have been higher due to meet country's demand. Nevertheless, immediately after come in power, our prime minister made commitment to do great for the country by hook or by crook. To keep her words, our economy demands more assistance from world's leading economies.

So, the need for completing mega projects within promising time is a must that requires huge fund. No doubt that China continuously had been maintaining good relations with us through financial assistance from time to time whenever asked.

If Chinese premier and president keep their commitment to resolve the humanitarian issue of Bangladesh by talking with Myanmar immediately, the recent visit of prime minister would be historic one. If China side fails to solve the issue, Bangladesh has to suffer a lot in coming days.

Beijing should respond Bangladesh regarding humanitarian crises. Otherwise, regional peace and stability might have been paralyzed at any time for growing Rohingya population. Bangladesh in this moment should practice strategic diplomacy with major powerful economies for solving recently globally- focused Rohingya problem.

I am obliged to praise Prime minister Sheikh Hasina's diplomatic skills since China's favor in respect of Rohingya issue was completely unexpected to Bangladesh side. Bangladesh prime minister performed best while talking to the Chinese counterpart about various issues. Chinese VISA policy for Bangladesh nationals might be relaxed for frequent access of our business people as like as India.

I am confirmed that two country's relations is set to further enhance if Bangladesh hurriedly responds the projects under "Belt and Road Initiative" ( BRI) taken by China in 2013. We are grateful to China as Chinese people are now alarmingly engaged with country's development works that would help our economy to be developed one before 2041.


Md Mazadul Hoque is currently serving at Social Islami Bank Ltd with Certified Expert in Trade Services ( CETS) from BIBM. Member- Bangladesh Economic Association ( BEA). E-mail: mazadul1985@gmail.com

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