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Dhaka, Beijing will begin FTA negotiations soon

The Business Post - 03 April 2024

Dhaka, Beijing will begin FTA negotiations soon

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen on Wednesday said Bangladesh and China have exchanged the feasibility study reports on free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries last week, which he sees as a major development in Dhaka-Beijing economic and trade cooperation.

"We are committed to concluding the feasibility study reports as early as possible within this year, and will officially launch the negotiations soon afterwards," he said.

The Chinese ambassador was speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of 2024 Chinese government training programs at the Embassy in Dhaka on Wednesday evening.

Ambassador Yao said under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh successfully held the general election as scheduled.

"It’s my conviction that under the strong and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh will be stronger, more united, more prosperous and more resilient in the next five years, which will also guarantee the continuous improvement and upgrading of China-Bangladesh cooperation," he said.

Both China and Bangladesh are at a critical stage of development and revitalisation. On the road to modernisation, China has been and will always be Bangladesh’s most reliable partner and trustworthy friend, the envoy said.

China and Bangladesh have set a good example of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, he added.

"As the Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh, I am pleased to see that China has deeply participated and played an important role in Bangladesh’s economic and social development," he said.

The two countries have also seen significant progress in many mega projects.

The Installation of Single Point Mooring with Double Pipe Line Project and the Bhanga-Rupdia Section of Padma Bridge Rail Link Project have been successfully put into trial operation, said the envoy.

Cox’s Bazar Wind Power Project, S Alam Coal Fired Power Plant and Barishal Power Plant have started generating electricity.

Construction of the Waste to Energy Power Plant Project in North Dhaka, Rajshahi Surface Water Treatment Plant and the China-Aid Project of Burn Unit of Chittagong Medical College Hospital will all start this year.

"It is expected that Bangladeshi mangoes will be exported to China this year. Luban Workshop, a model of international cooperation in China’s vocational education, is expected to be set up in Bangladesh this year," he said.

More direct flights from Dhaka to Beijing will start very soon, Ambassador Yao said.

Last week, he said, the Centre for China Studies of Dhaka University was launched, which will promote the academic circles of the two countries in conducting joint study and exploration of bilateral, regional, and global affairs, strengthening people-to-people exchange.

Last August, President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met on the side-lines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

The two leaders reached a consensus that the two countries need to strengthen personnel exchanges and deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which has injected vigour and vitality into the development of bilateral relations.

Bangladeshi officials at all levels, experts and scholars from all circles play a vital role in this process.

"It is my firm conviction that the prospect of China and Bangladesh relations will be even brighter with your participation and dedication. May you all be outstanding ambassadors of China-Bangladesh friendship," Ambassador Yao said.

Additional Secretary, Wing Chief of ERD, Ministry of Finance Md Anwar Hossain and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Md Hasan Sarwar also spoke at the event at the Chinese embassy.

The Chinese government training programs are important platforms for China-Bangladesh economic and social development cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, which have trained more than 5,500 government officials and experts for Bangladesh so far.

The training programs have tremendously supported the practical cooperation between China and Bangladesh and achieved the goal of mutual learning and enhancing the expertise and capacities of those trainees.

This year, with support from the Chinese government, the number of training programs and personnel provided by the Chinese government to Bangladesh has reached a new high, with the total number of trainees exceeding 500.

The number of bilateral seminars reaches 19, ranking first in the world, covering such areas as financial cooperation, investment promotion, exhibition organisation, agricultural product processing, customs on-site supervision, water project and railway construction, Chinese language teaching, sports and media, etc.

Among them, two bilateral seminars, emergency rescue and information telecommunication, will be held in April.

"It is expected that all training programs will be completed by the end of October. I believe that with the joint efforts of all departments of the Bangladeshi government present here, we will surely be able to wrap up this year’s training programs successfully," said Ambassador Yao.

 source: The Business Post