Chinese investment and aid prove to be great help for Bangladesh

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-09-16 14:30:00 – Dhaka

Chinese commerce minister Gao Hucheng’s recent visit to Bangladesh has buoyed hopes among Bangladeshi businessmen and international relations experts that bilateral relations will be strengthened over the next few months. During the commerce minister’s visit, China granted Bangladesh nearly US$ 100 million to set up an exhibition center and also expressed interest to invest $ 300 million in the South Asian country’s textile sector.

Also an MoU was signed on Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center’ project between Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

While textiles sector bigwigs in Dhaka are hopeful that the grant and proposed investment will prove to be a boon for Bangladesh, international relations experts have stressed that this is yet another example of Bangladesh’s growing geo-political and economic importance in the region.

A permanent Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center will be set up in Purbachal area, in the outskirts of Dhaka. The center will be built on 33,000 sq ft land featuring 1500-car parking area and 800 exhibition booths. The total cost of the project is US $ 102.2 million, from which China will be providing $ 86.76 million to Bangladesh as grant.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith informed the media that the Chinese government wants to increase regional connectivity, mainly by constructing roads from Myanmar to Kunming through Bangladesh.

Bangladesh would build 23 kilometers of the proposed international road from Myanmar to Kunming under Bangladesh-Myanmar friendship road project “as a friendship gesture by Bangladesh to China.”

Muhith said that Chinese economic cooperation to Bangladesh has expanded more now than 10 years ago. Also, China has agreed to Bangladesh paying in instalment for development projects while interest rates on loans are lower compared with other development partners.

Local investors are hopeful that the Chinese investment and aid will prove to be a great help for Bangladesh.

Mohammad Hatem, a former Vice-president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA), said that the grant and proposed investment are a sign of stronger Bangladesh-China ties.

He elaborated on the proposed investment in textiles, this is extremely necessary for their [Bangladesh’s] woven textiles sector which needs to become as independent as the knitwear sector.

But international relations experts felt that Bangladesh’s foreign policy should look to maintain balanced ties with both China and India in the long run.

Dr. Delwar Hossain, Professor at the International Relations Department of Dhaka University, stressed that Bangladesh should “consider its own interests” while getting investments, grants and aids from countries like India, China, Russia etc. and “maintain a balance”.

As for China, Bangladesh has been a long-term partner for the second largest economy in the world for four decades now. Besides the geo-political importance, Bangladesh’s economic importance has also been increasing over the years.

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