'The Belt and Road Initiative has entered its 5th year, and unprecedented, historic development opportunities have opened up for industries for our two countries'
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zhang Zuo yesterday stressed the need for building of an effective platform of discussion to enhance practical economic cooperation between Bangladesh and China.
"We continue to strengthen coordination, and push for the signing of an MoU on cooperation mechanisms in order to build a platform of discussion, sharing and mutual help, a platform of win-win cooperation and friendship," he said.
The ambassador made the comment while addressing a roundtable discussion on “China-Bangladesh Communication, Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism for Industry Enterprises under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” held at a Dhaka hotel, reports UNB.
Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Industries Shah Haq, Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) Chairman Shah Md Aminul Haq, President of the Overseas Chinese Association Zhuang Lifeng, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Lin Weiqiang, and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Chinese Embassy Chen Wei spoke at the roundtable, among others.
"I hope industry enterprises from both sides can enhance mutual trust, strengthen communication and coordination, work together to become partners to mutual benefit, and actively contribute to the practical economic cooperation between our two nations," the Chinese ambassador added.
The Chinese envoy further said the bilateral relationship between China and Bangladesh had been elevated to a strategic partnership of cooperation, beginning a new chapter in the BRI.
In 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $16 billion, 5.8% higher than the previous year. China remains the number one trade partner to Bangladesh, and engineering contracts signed between Bangladesh and Chinese companies amounted to $10.4 billion.
In the first half of this year, bilateral trade stands at $9.35 billion, with a growth rate of 17.6% year on year. In addition, contracts worth $3.57 billion have been signed, amounting to 8.6% growth year-on-year.
The ambassador put forward several suggestions for the enhancement of communication, cooperation and coordination mechanisms between China and Bangladesh under the BRI.
President of the Overseas Chinese Association Zhuang Lifeng said the Overseas Chinese Association in Bangladesh has become a platform of win-win cooperation and common development for the two countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.
"Now the Belt and Road Initiative has entered its 5th year, and unprecedented, historic development opportunities have opened up for industries for our two countries, along with challenges as well," he added.
Zhuang Lifeng further said they believe cooperation and coordination between China and Bangladesh under the BRI will facilitate closer economic exchanges, spur the growth of Chinese enterprises, attract more Chinese investment, and boost the economic development of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh officials said the government is committed to working together with China and the relationship between the countries would grow.