The Policy Times Dhaka Bureau (June 12) :
Due to its large population, China is the top importer of goods as well as exports. Last year, China imported 2.48 trillion worth of goods from around the world. However, Bangladesh’s share in this market is only 0.05 percent. Experts believe that there is a huge potential for Bangladesh in the Chinese market if Bangladesh can take advantage of the recent duty-free access and preferential trade facility (FTA). Bangladesh can export 25 billion a year if it can capture only 1 percent of China’s import market. Bangladesh currently exports less than 1 billion worth of goods and services to the country.
The experts made the remarks at a virtual discussion on ‘Bangladesh-China Economic and Trade Relations in the Aftermath of the Covid-19 Global Pendamic’ on Wednesday (June 9th). The event was jointly organized by the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) and the Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI). ERF General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam presented the keynote address at the seminar, which was chaired by Dr. Mohammad Abdur Razzak. Chinese Ambassador to Dhaka Bangladesh Mr. Li Jimming, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) spoke as a special guest on the occasion. Sirajul Islam and Bangladesh Ambassador to China Mahbub-uz-Zaman.
In the original article. Abdur Razzak said, “The current global reality is that by 2028, China will be the world’s largest economy. On the other hand, China is now the world’s largest exporter. The country currently controls one-third of the world’s export trade. Besides exports, China’s import market is also quite large. Last year, the country imported 2.46 trillion worth of goods, compared to 2.79 trillion in exports. There is a huge opportunity for Bangladesh in the huge consumer market. He said Bangladesh is now supplying only 0.05 percent of the number of goods that China is importing from the global market. If it could be raised to 1 percent, it would be possible to export an additional 25 billion worth of goods to the Chinese market. In this case, the possibility of making clothes is the most mentioned. Razzak said China is being transformed into a major import hub for the readymade garments market. Bangladesh currently holds 6 percent of China’s RMG market. Where Vietnam occupies more than 19 percent. If you take a look here, Bangladesh will find a huge market.
Mentioning that Bangladesh’s relations with China are friendly, Tipu Munshi thinks that there is a huge opportunity to expand Bangladesh’s trade in the country. The Commerce Minister said, “China is Bangladesh’s largest trading partner. Last year, the total trade between Bangladesh and China was 12.09 billion. Of this, Bangladesh’s imports from China were 11.49 billion and Bangladesh’s exports from China were 60 million. The current trade relations between the two countries are in favor of China. In 2020, China has given us 98 percent duty-free access. I think Bangladesh will also be able to take advantage of this opportunity to trade. He said the visit of the Prime Minister of China to Bangladesh in 2016 and the visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to China in 2019 are important for the development of trade. A number of agreements have been signed between the two countries during the visit. “We talked about the FTA on both tours,” he said. It also has some progress. However, we need to make more efforts to implement it quickly. This will happen before LDC graduation and I am hopeful that Bangladesh will face the next challenge well after LDC graduation.
Stating that a free-market economy is very effective in expanding the trade of Bangladesh, the Commerce Minister said, “Our goal is to expand global trade from developing countries to developed countries.” The free market economy is helping to increase investment and trade in Bangladesh. The government is also working to establish a free-market economy with various benefits to businesses. This will help our private sector to be competitive.
Stating that China has a huge investment in Bangladesh, Li Jimming, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Bangladesh, said that there is a new potential for Bangladesh in that country’s market. The Chinese Ambassador said the friendly neighborly relations between China and Bangladesh are long-standing. High-level transactions between the two countries have maintained a steady pace for 45 years. Support for the economy, trade, and investment continues to deepen. In July last year, China gave Bangladesh a duty-free facility of up to 98 percent. As a result, it has created new possibilities for Bangladesh’s trade in the Chinese market. Last year, Chinese imports from Bangladesh increased by 28 percent. In the future, China’s imports from Bangladesh will increase further. Trade between the two countries will be balanced. He said the FTA could play an important role in boosting trade between the two countries, in addition to the existing duty-free facilities. But in this case, the Bangladesh government has to do more. Referring to China’s friendly relations with Bangladesh, Li Jimming said there is a huge demand for the corona vaccine in China at the moment. On the other hand, international supply is also very limited. In the meantime, China has stood by Bangladesh because of its friendship. In the meantime, Sinoform has donated 5 lakh vaccines. Another 6 lakh vaccines are waiting for Sinovac’s gift.
‘We are now waiting for the issue of vaccine procurement in China. The Chinese Ambassador also added that the progress of Bangladesh-China joint production talks is promising.
Bidar executive chairman said. Sirajul Islam said China-Bangladesh economic relations have existed since ancient times. This relationship has further grown from the Silk Route to the current diplomatic era. Our economic relationship, which dates back to 1975, is now on a strong footing. In addition to trade, China’s assistance to our big projects has added something new. At present our political, social, and economic relations are very friendly.
Mahbub-uz-Zaman, Bangladesh’s ambassador to China, said, “Our relationship with China is very old.” China’s current political commitment is also to trade relations with us. The Belt and Growth Initiative was announced by the Chinese Prime Minister in 2013. This initiative is playing a very important role in our trade relations with China. He said trade between the two countries would take a new shape if the investment promise made during the visit of the Prime Minister of the two countries was implemented. Huge employment will be created in Bangladesh. We are working to strengthen relations with China.
BCCCCI President Gazi Golam Mortuza, ERF President Sharmin Rinvi, BCCCCI Joint General Secretary Al Mamun Mridha, and Senior Vice President Brigadier General (retd) Shah Mohammad, among others, were present at the discussion. Sultan Uddin Iqbal also spoke