The US-China trade war has a lot to offer our country
Since the 1990s, one of the most cooperative, reliable, and strategic regional partners of Bangladesh, in ameliorating the overall economic dynamics, strengthening national security, developing infrastructure and reducing poverty, has been China.
After the National Parliamentary Election in Bangladesh, held on December 30, 2018, the congratulatory message from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, denoting China’s continuous support to Bangladesh as well as the potency of their bilateral strategic partnership, accentuates the importance of the existing relationship between the two countries.
The Global Economy is changingrapidly, aswell-known business author Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind stresses the existence of 3 As: Asia, Abundance, and Automation.How these are changing the whole dynamics of professions? Asia-Pacific region will be leading, not only the knowledge-based market, but also the sectors where both left (logical) and right (creativity) side of human brain are needed. China is one of the largest, strongest, and fastest growing countries in Asia, with a vision to dominate the Asia-pacific through strategic partnership with other Asian countries, by their “win-win” philosophy.
Bangladesh, one of the primary strategic partners of China, has developed an outstanding political relationship with the nation. For example, when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid anofficial visit to Dhaka in October 2016, Bangladesh received him with the highest official greetings ever. It was the first visit by any Chinese head of the state to Bangladesh in 30 years.
In May 2014, the construction of Padma Bridge -- the biggest ever infrastructural project in our nation -- was awarded to the China Major Bridge Engineering Company (CMBEC).
In terms of trade, China stands as the largest trading partner for Bangladesh with more than $10 billion in bilateral trade volume. According to reports provided by the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, the amount of our total export to China was $808.14 million in the Fiscal year 2015-16, compared to $319.66 million in 2010-11.
A Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) initiative, which focuses on the revival of the Southern Silk Road under BRI by physically connecting the landlocked provinces of Southern China to the Bay of Bengal, accentuates the strategic geographical location of Bangladesh’s value for free trade amongst the countries located in that region.
The Fiscal year 2018 account dynamics was dominated by strong import growth at over 25%, which resulted in a sharp widening of the current account deficit to around 3.6 percent of GDP and created foreign exchange pressures according to the recently released monetary policy statement of Bangladesh Central Bank. While Export growth is considered rewarding, and import growth is often viewed as detrimental, the perfect balance between Export and Import is absolutely an important 21st century requirement for sustainability of growth of the overall Economy of the country.
The culture of being an employee at a 9-5 job is slowly diminishing, while the entrepreneurial spirit amongst the young generation in Bangladesh is at all-time high. While export results in increment of foreign remittance, import from countries like China, with whom Bangladesh has very friendly trade relations, shouldn’t be viewed as detrimental, rather as a catalyst for boosting the economy, by bringing into the work force the huge number of people who are currently unemployed.
The creativity of the youth, if introduced to global trade eco-system, will foster furtherentrepreneurship in the country, hopefully to a level where the balance between export-Import will be mutually beneficial instead of being dominated by one side.
Mutually benefiting from each other in the long run without causing any detrimental effects through diplomacy and fair trade agreements, while seizing opportunities which arise from the US-China trade war, Bangladesh stands to gain a lot from its relationship with both the US and China.
Anwar Shadat Jihan is an Aerospace Engineering Consultant based in Wichita, KS, USA. He is the Founder and Owner of Midwest Engineering Solutions.