Bangladesh visit welcomed

By Yu Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/12 23:53:39

Greater cooperation in various sectors expected

Enterprises from both China and Bangladesh see ample opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries, though some challenges exist, experts said Wednesday.

"The two countries have potential cooperation opportunities in many sectors including electricity, textiles, railways, telecoms and autos as well as petrochemical industries," Chen Wei, secretary-general of the Yunnan Chamber of International Commerce, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to Cambodia, Bangladesh and India from Thursday to Monday, several entrepreneurs from China and Bangladesh expressed their positive attitude toward the cooperation between the two countries.

"Chinese enterprises have advanced  technology, as well as professional management expertise and abundant capital following the country's rapid development in the last 30 years," Wang Xusheng, president of State-owned China National Machinery Import & Export Corp (CMC), told the Global Times Wednesday.

Under the "One Belt and One Road" initiative, leaders from both China and Bangladesh have paid frequent visits to each other, which has helped to create a good investment environment for Chinese companies, said Wang.

Chinese companies have great opportunities in the Bangladeshi energy sector as Bangladesh is short of funding and its electrical facilities are outdated, noted Wang.

Wang Jian, project director of the SEPCOIII S. Alam Project in Bangladesh, echoed this optimism.

"The Bangladeshi government is trying to increase electrical power generation capacity to meet the demand," Wang Jian told the Global Times on Tuesday. "There's great potential for cooperation between the two countries in the electricity sector."

The total power generation capacity in Bangladesh is 14,980 megawatts currently, and the Bangladeshi government aims to raise it to 24,000 megawatts by 2021, according to a report posted on the website of the Economic and Commercial Counsellor's office of the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh on Monday.

Meanwhile, one Bangladeshi entrepreneur looked forward to more technological partnership and investment from China.

"There are very good prospects for expansion of business between [the two] countries for consumer products, raw materials, and machinery through the use of technology," M. S. Siddiqui, CEO of Bangla Chemical in Bangladesh, told the Global Times on Sunday. "I believe China can remain our largest business partner for a very long time."

Bangla Chemical sells raw materials for the textile and paints sectors and the company wants to expand in the petrochemical derivative sector, according to Siddiqui.

From January to June, the bilateral trade volume between China and Bangladesh reached $7.49 billion, up 2.6 percent year-on-year, according to data released by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in September.

China's newly signed contract amount reached $3.44 billion in the same period, up 275.8 percent year-on-year, the MOFCOM data showed.

Challenges exist

CMC has signed more than 10 projects in Bangladesh so far, worth a total of more than $3 billion, CMC President Wang said.

However, there are also some factors restricting China's investment in Bangladesh including the weak transportation facilities, insufficient electric power supply, the shortage of professional technicians and managers in Bangladesh and differences in the legal and taxation systems and religious habits between the two countries, according to Wang, the president of CMC.

"Also, the Bangladeshi government's working efficiency is relatively low, which will increase the costs for Chinese companies," said Wang from SEPCOIII.

Siddiqui, the Bangladeshi entrepreneur, said his company doesn't know how to find good partners from China or how to maintain a good relationship, adding that he hopes the governments of both countries can help with these problems.

Cultural and educational exchanges could help to create a better relationship among people from the two countries, which would be helpful for expanding business in other sectors, said Siddiqui.

The Bangladeshi local media also appears to be optimistic about the upcoming visit of President Xi. The visit will take the ties between the two countries to a new level, Bangladeshi English-language newspaper Dhaka Tribune reported on Wednesday.

The two countries marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015.

Posted in: Economy

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