China wants more spaces in Bangladesh for investment

Staff Correspondent        
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“China always supports bi-lateral trade development and promotion between China and Bangladesh. China wants to invest more in business sector and Chinese businessmen are now coming to invest in Bangladesh as it has potentials.” Chinese Ambassador Ma Mingqiang said this in ‘China Experience and Bangladesh Development’ ODA training program at hotel Le-meridian in the city organized by China Embassy in Bangladesh.

“We are targeting for more spaces in Bangladesh economic zones and Bangladesh will have more Chinese investment facilities. Bangladesh has big potentials of becoming a manufacturing hub. Because, you are enjoying a huge inexpensive labor force,” he added.

The Chinese ambassador said, “This year some 840 Bangladeshi officials at various levels went to China to participate in training programs”.

Figure 1: Chinese Ambassador Ma Mingqiang.

Mr. Kazi Shafiqul Islam, Secretary of ERD, Ministry of Finance said, “China is one of the major developed country, Bangladesh and China have 42 years of friendly relationship. China works for skill development. 29 projects have been signed with China”, he added.

Figure 2: Trade advantage in China.
Figure 2: Trade advantage in China.

He also said, “We hope that our relationship is not only economical, but also it will be trade development between two countries. Every year we import 4000 products from China. We hope china will contribute us to become middle income country by 2021.”

In the program, 6 presentations have been shown from BEZA, ICT Ministry, Finance Ministry, Commerce Ministry and Health and Welfare Ministry representative of Bangladesh who have received the training of ‘China Experience of Development’. The trainees shared their presentations on promoting the economic and social development in Bangladesh by learning from China experience and enhancing the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in relevant fields.

Investment from China in Bangladesh is lowest among top ten countries, according to the below chart. Bangladesh’s economic relations with China have traditionally been dominated by trade. However, more and more synergies are emerging between the two countries resulting in more Chinese investment in Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs huge foreign investment. Globally, China invested about USD128 billion in 2015. Beijing showed huge interest to invest in Bangladesh’s port, railway, highway, energy sector and other key infrastructure while President Xi’s visited in 2016.

Figure 3: Top ten investors in Bangladesh in 2016 (Value in million USD) Source: Bangladesh Bank
Figure 3: Top ten investors in Bangladesh in 2016 (Value in million USD) Source: Bangladesh Bank

Investment opportunities in priority sectors of Bangladesh

The trainees said that China wants to invest in some of our prospective areas. Effective measures are required to set up joint venture in textile-leather sector and relocate their labor-intensive industries to Bangladesh for industrial capacity building. The exports of Bangladesh will increase significantly by using modern technology and expertise if investments from china increase in different areas. They will establish fashion design institute in Bangladesh based on Chinese model with a view to boost exports of Ready Made Garment (RMG) items to china.

Bangladesh Export Zone Authority, BEZA is working to establish 100 economic zones in the country. BEZA has already categorized economic zone, PPP economic zones, private economic zones, government economic zones, special economic zones, G2G economic zones.

Figure 4: Vision 2021 and objective of BEZA
Figure 4: Vision 2021 and objective of BEZA

Mr. Li Guangjun, Economic & Commercial Counselor and Mrs. Liu Yue, Second Secretary of Economic and Commercial Counselors’ Office, Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh were also present at the China Experience and Bangladesh Development Forum.

While Bangladesh has been given duty free access to a large number of products by Beijing, its export to China has not exceeded even one billion dollar in Chinese consumer market. The large and growing trade imbalance between the two countries can be reduced partly if China invests in Bangladesh’s industrial sector. At the same time, China should allow quota free facility for Bangladeshi RMG products, the main export item of the country.

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