Bangladeshi and Chinese companies have signed trade and investment deals worth over $13 billion, mainly covering infrastructure and energy sectors, in addition to the USD 20 billion in loan agreements the two governments signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country. Commerce ministry officials said 13 of the projects for which China signed deals with 11 Bangladeshi private firms and two government entities covered infrastructure, communication, power and energy and sports. The deals were worth USD 13.6 billion, they said.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, while briefing reporters on the deals yesterday, however, did not to quote any figure for the deals and the loan agreements between the two nations.
“You will have to wait more few days to know about total financial involvement of the projects to be undertaken under the agreements,” he said.
President Xi today arrived in India for the BRICS Summit in Goa, after completing his two-day trip to Bangladesh. Xi was the first Chinese leader to visit Bangladesh in 30 years. Xi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday announced that the Dhaka-Beijing ties have now been elevated to a level of “strategic partnership”.
“China-Bangladesh relationship is now at a new historical starting point and heading toward a promising future,” Xi said after his talks with Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina.
Xi said China would “continue to do its best” to provide capital, technological and human resources support and carry out “more cooperation” on big projects with Bangladesh to support its economic and social development. After the bilateral talks, Xi and Hasina witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and MoUs involving the two governments. China’s state-owned and private entities also signed 13 agreements mostly with Bangladeshi private enterprises.
“The deals could involve an amount of over USD 20 billion as those included mega projects requiring loans,” a foreign ministry official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Bangladesh has also extended its support to Xi’s pet ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ on which India has expressed reservations in the past.
Hasina said Bangladesh is willing to actively work with China within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and support the building of an economic corridor linking Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar, so as to push forward development in various fields such as electricity, energy, technology, agriculture, water resources, investment, transportation infrastructure and connectivity.
“China is ready to work with Bangladesh to move forward as friends and partners who trust and support each other and to add more substance to China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation,” Xi said after holding talks with Hasina.
At the signing ceremony, Hasina noted that she had a “very fruitful” discussion with Xi on issues like improving bilateral, regional, and international cooperation.