Bangladesh needs more investments geared towards the Chinese market to boost exports, Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming said on Saturday.
Speaking at the "China-Bangladesh Enterprises Cooperation Forum 2022," where he highlighted the strong bilateral relationship, economic and political ties, the ambassador said, "We recommend Bangladesh's enterprises and exporters to participate in China's International Import Expo (CIIE). Bangladesh needs more Chinese market-oriented investment. Bangladesh needs to produce what the Chinese market needs in order to boost export."
Seeking technological support to expand Bangladesh's economy, State Minister for the planning ministry Dr Shamsul Alam, urged for more Chinese investments.
"Bangladesh is enjoying duty-free access for 99% of products in the China market. We, however, need comprehensive economic partnership between the two countries and FTA [free-trade agreement]. Bangladesh wants an influx of more FDI [foreign direct investment] from China. We built a dedicated economic zone for Chinese investors," he said.
Addressing the event at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center in Dhaka's Purbachal, Li Jiming said China has inked 200 collaborations with 149 countries and 32 international organisations.
He said Chinese direct investment in Bangladesh has increased by 300% and China has promised to invest more $40 billion into joint ventures and infrastructure projects through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which will bring dynamism to economic activities, create employment, increase assets and ease the livelihood of the people through infrastructure development.
As of the first half of this year, China's trade in goods with countries involved in the BRI Initiative totalled $11.8 trillion, while its nonfinancial direct investment in these countries exceeded $140 billion, he said.
Calling Bangladesh one of China's most reliable and trusted friends, Li Jiming said China supports Bangladesh through various means to promote infrastructure development, including concessional loans, investment cooperation, project contracting and China-aid projects.
China's investment in Bangladesh in 2021 amounted to $1.26 billion and grew almost threefold.
Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) President Gazi Golum Murtoza said, "Due to the worldwide pandemic followed by the Ukraine war, the exchange rate of the US dollar has become out of control as it keeps on increasing."
As Bangladesh and China account for an average annual basket of trade worth US $15 billion, a dependence on only one foreign currency would lead to losses.
BCCCI Acting General Secretary Al Mamun Mridha said, "We have worked vigorously as the catalyst to promote and facilitate trade and investment between two friendly countries through different channels and activities. Within the year 2003 to 2022 our bilateral trade jumped from $1.17 billion to more than $15 billion."
State Minister for Planning ministry Dr Shamsul Alam also praised the relationship shared by the two countries. "The Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman understood the potential growth of China and started a good friendship with the rapidly growing country," adding that Bangladesh has to follow the growth of China.
Saying China has lent support in various ways, particularly in building infrastructures and transforming the economy of the country, Shamsul urged for more cooperation in other areas - trade visits, cultural trips, etc - to further enhance the bond.
"China can help Bangladesh in resolving many geopolitical issues," he said, adding Bangladesh always valued its friendship with China.
Mahbub Uz Zaman, former Bangladesh ambassador to China, also attended the event, chaired by BCCCI President Gazi Golum Murtoza. CEAB President Ke Changlian and BCCCI Acting General Secretary Al Mamun Mridha delivered the welcome speeches.
The event was jointly organised by the BCCI and the Chinese Enterprises Association in Bangladesh (CEAB).