President Xi Jinping has recently delivered a special speech titled 'Forge Ahead with Confidence and Fortitude to Jointly Create a Better Post-Covid World' at the 2022 World Economic Forum Virtual Session. The much-appreciated speech has brought some good news for Bangladesh, just as it has raised hope for pandemic-stricken people of other developing nations around the world.
In the speech, President Xi reiterated his resolve to build a shared future for humanity, based on the principle of win-win cooperation. In doing so, the Chinese president came up with four specific proposals: 1. embracing cooperation and jointly defeating the pandemic, 2. resolving various risks and promoting steady recovery of the world economy, 3. bridging the development divide and revitalising global development, and 4. discarding the cold war mentality and seeking peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes.
Most importantly, the president reaffirmed that China will stay committed to pursuing high-quality development, reform and opening-up, and promoting ecological conservation. He went on saying that, for China, reform and opening-up is always a work in process. Whatever change in the international landscape, China will always hold high the banner of reform and opening-up and will continue to let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation.
He continued saying that China will build a unified, open, competitive and orderly market system, where all businesses enjoy equal status before the law and have equal opportunities in the marketplace. All types of capital are welcome to operate in China in compliance with laws and regulations.
He also noted that China will continue to expand high-standard opening-up, steadily advance institutional opening-up that covers rules, management and standards, deliver national treatment for foreign businesses, and promote high-quality Belt and
Road cooperation, with a view to further integrating into the regional and global economy and achieving mutual benefit and win-win results.
The aforesaid statements of the speech, widely hailed by global leaders and concerned experts as a pragmatic and timely guideline, have ignited hopes for Bangladesh to forge ahead stronger bilateral cooperation with China in the days to come. They contain a number of pieces of good news for Bangladesh as well.
I firmly believe that as a strategic partner, largest trading partner, and one of the major development partners of China, Bangladesh should be upbeat about benefiting from China in line with the speech. Dhaka can be hopeful about reducing the trade gap between the two friendly nations as the Chinese President expressed his firm commitment to expand China's market for the world. As Bangladesh is expecting duty-free access of its 98 percent export items to the market, Dhaka can see a fresh boom of its exports there in accordance with the commitments of President Xi.
As Xi Jinping reiterated his commitment to play much wider roles in global development and expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Bangladesh can reap more dividends by incurring huge amounts of new investments in its promising infrastructure sectors under the BRI cooperation in the future.
Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in poverty reduction in recent years. But 24.3 percent of its population is still under the poverty line, while the rate of extreme poverty is 12.9 percent. It is for this reason Bangladesh has to work hard toward poverty eradication, and BRI cooperation has opened the door to Bangladesh to learn lessons from China about reducing poverty rapidly in a way Beijing has made history in poverty eradication in only four decades.
The Chinese president reaffirmed his commitment to promoting harmony between humanity and nature. China has also a long experience of fighting pollution which the country has identified as one of its major challenges. To face the challenge and eventually reduce the impact of climate change, China has initiated a unique approach named 'ecological civilisation.' It is aimed at bringing harmony between people and nature. China could succeed in making environmental issues a salient feature of its society through this approach.
As Bangladesh is the worst possible victim of climate change, it can forge greater cooperation with China over the issue under the BRI. Ecological civilisation is more relevant to Bangladesh as the approach can strike a balance between rapid development and environment protection, which is a must for sustainable development.
As President Xi restated that China will further open its all sectors including the education one in the future, Bangladesh can grab the opportunity under the BRI cooperation. Bangladesh can directly benefit from sending its students to China to turn them into skilled human resources. As I know around 2,800 undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate students are awarded Chinese government scholarships every year. Bangladesh can get into China to increase the number of scholarships and student intakes as well.
Finally, as a strategic partner, Bangladesh has prospects on all fronts to explore and forge ahead all-out cooperation with China. As the Chinese President stated that China must stick to the existing policies of deepening its opening-up and reforms, Bangladesh can hugely benefit from China. I, therefore, believe that President Xi's online speech at Davos Forum holds hopes for Bangladesh too. Now Bangladesh should come forward to make the hopes a reality.
Md Enamul Hassan is a news editor at China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing, China.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.