Bangladesh-China economic ties to enter new stage: Chinese ambassador

Chinese ambassador Li Jiming
Chinese ambassador Li JimingPhoto: UNB
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With annual GDP growth of more than 6 per cent for many years, Bangladesh will remain one of the most dynamic economies in South Asia and the world, says China.

Bangladesh can benefit hugely from the vast Chinese market as China's imports will exceed US$30 trillion in next 15 years, says its ambassador in Dhaka on Tuesday.

"It will be a win-win cooperation for China and Bangladesh to fully explore China's import capability, catch up with the demand of the Chinese market, and strengthen bilateral trade," ambassador Li Jiming said.

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To fulfill the promise made by president Xi Jinping to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Beijing announced it would be granting 'zero tariff access' to 97 per cent of its goods imported from Bangladesh, effective from midnight tonight.

The Chinese ambassador said it can become a landmark starting point for a new chapter in the bilateral trade relationship.

He said China has a large market with a population of more than 1.4 billion and China sincerely opens its market to other countries.

In 2019, China's total trade value of goods is about US$ 4.5 trillion, of which imports account for about US$ 2.2 trillion.

"It is estimated that in the next 15 years, China's imports will exceed US$30 trillion. China's import will continue to maintain great potential, providing a strong guarantee for China's economic development and a huge market for high-quality products of Bangladesh," said the ambassador.

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He said the continuous development of bilateral trade will also provide a solid foundation for the realization of Bangladesh's development visions such as "Sonar Bangla" and "Digital Bangladesh".

The ambassador said deepening cooperation in bilateral trade between China and Bangladesh is an inevitable choice to benefit the national economies and livelihoods, enhance the friendship between the two countries and effectively respond to the outbreak of the pandemic.

He said the difficulties caused by the pandemic are just temporary, while the friendship and trade development between China and Bangladesh would be long-lasting.

Ambassador Jiming said with the implementation of 97 per cent zero tariff treatment, Bangladesh-China economic and trade cooperation will definitely enter a significant new stage.

China says the two countries are "good neighbours and good partners" and specially since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the friendship between the two countries has been fully reflected.

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Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and China in 1975, the bilateral trade volume has grown rapidly in the context of bilateral friendship.

In the year when diplomatic relations were established, the bilateral trade volume between Bangladesh was only US$ 3.06 million.

While in 2019, the volume has reached US$18.33 billion, a dramatic rise compared with that of the initial time, said the ambassador.

At the same time, China has become the largest trading partner of Bangladesh, and Bangladesh the second largest trading partner of China in South Asia, he said.

The trade volume between the two countries has maintained a relatively high level of growth in the past five years, with a growing rate of 24.6 per cent, highlighting the rapid development of economic cooperation between China and Bangladesh, said the ambassador.

Ambassador Jiming said China-Bangladesh economic cooperation has been further consolidated under the Belt and Road Initiative, where the two countries provide each other with goods and services of excellent quality and reasonable price, and truly bring a sense of gain to the two peoples.

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Trade affected amid COVID-19

With the sweeping effect of COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, the world trade has been suffering a heavy blow, and the trade between China and Bangladesh has also been affected, he said.

According to statistics from China, the trade volume from January to April of 2020 between China and Bangladesh was USD 5.02 billion, 16 per cent down compared with the same period last year.

The Chinese envoy said it is high time that the 97 per cent zero tariff treatment come out, which will definitely help the trade between the two countries to recover from the COVID-19 trauma, and enhance export from Bangladesh to China so as to alleviate the trade imbalances.

He said China encourages Bangladesh trade companies to make full use of the 97 per cent zero tariff treatment to expand market share in China and be of positive effect to the improvement of the economic and social development of Bangladesh as well as the well beings of the Bangladesh people.

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Demographic dividend

The ambassador said although the COVID-19 pandemic around the world has caused difficulties to the economic development of Bangladesh, it has not changed the fact that the working-age population is abundant, the demographic dividend is yet to be fully realized and the industrial growth potentiality is huge.

Giving a positive economic outlook for Bangladesh, he said garment export industry is the biggest advantageous industry of Bangladesh, accounting for the majority of the country's exports.

In 2019, he said, China imported textile, clothing and accessories from Bangladesh amounting to USD 590 million, accounting for about 57 per cent of the total import.

The export potential of Bangladesh lies in the need to develop manufacturing industry, break through the limitations of its own industrial structure, continuously improve the quality of export products and shift to higher value-added exports, Jiming said.

Over the past 40 years, he said, Bangladesh garment manufacturing industry has made great progress, and its export volume has increased significantly.

However, the ambassador said, it still has great potential in terms of the types of export commodities, the improvement of production efficiency, the diversification of export commodities, the improvement of technical content of products and the transfer of products with higher added value.

In addition, Jiming said, Bangladesh is rich in agricultural products, livestock products, tropical fruits and seafood.

Through industrial upgrading, expanding production scale and improving product quality, Bangladesh has the full potential to continuously expand its exports to China.

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