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Hasina-Xi meet bolsters bilateral ties

Chinese Premier Li announces RMB 1b as economic assistance

FE DESK | July 11, 2024 00:00:00

Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she arrives at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for their bilateral meeting on Wednesday. — Photo PID

Beijing offered concessional development funding as Bangladesh and China Wednesday signed 21 cooperation documents, mostly MoUs, aiming to consolidate development and economic cooperation between the two Asian countries.

Capping talks during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit, the two countries also announced seven outcomes, including the conclusion of joint feasibility study on Bangladesh-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The documents were signed and outcomes announced after the delegation-level bilateral meeting led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People.

Hasina arrived in Beijing on Monday on a three-day official visit at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart, says a UNB report from Beijing.

Briefing the media, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said Chinese Primer Li Qiang announced RMB 1.0 billion (140 million dollars approximately) for Bangladesh as economic assistance.

The signed documents are: MoUs on strengthening investment cooperation in the Digital Economy; on Banking and Insurance Regulatory between China National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA) and Bangladesh Bank; Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements Export of Fresh Mangoes from Bangladesh to China; on Exchange and Cooperation in the field of Economic Development Policy; on Trade and Investment Cooperation; on Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation; Minutes of discussions on the Feasibility Study of the China-aid National Emergency Operation Center in Bangladesh Project; Exchange the Letters on the China-aid 6th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge Renovation Project; Exchange the Letters on the Feasibility Study of China-aid Construction of Nateshwar Archaeological Site Park in Bangladesh Project; Exchange the Letters on the China-aid 9th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge Project; MoU on Strengthening the Cooperation in Medical Care and Public Health; on Strengthening the Infrastructure Cooperation; on Cooperation on Green and Low-Carbon Development; renewing the MoU upon Provision of Hydrological Information of the Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra River in Flood Season by China to Bangladesh; MoU between National Radio and Television Administration and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of Bangladesh; MoU between the China Media Group (CMG) and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS); MoU between the China Media Group (CMG) and BTV; agreement between the Xinhua News Agency and BSS; agreement between the Xinhua News Agency and BTV; renewing the MoU between the Ministry of Education of China and the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh and MoU Regarding Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Infrastructure Development.

Other announced outcomes are (1) commencement of negotiations on the optimisation of Bangladesh-China bilateral investment treaty (2) completion of the Modernization of Telecommunication Network for Digital Connectivity project (3) completion of trial run of the Single Point Mooring with Double Pipe Line project (4) commencement of Rajshahi WASA Surface Water Treatment Plant (5) signing of MoU between Shandong Agricultural University and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur and (6) the construction of Luban Workshop in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Hasina wrapped up her visit after holding a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jingping on Wednesday afternoon.

She left Beijing for home at 10pm (Beijing time) on Wednesday.

Briefing the media, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said the Chinese Premier also said they give utmost importance to the relationship with Bangladesh.

He said the Chinese Premier also expressed his desire to take the relations between Bangladesh and China to a new level.

"In a cordial environment was there a fruitful discussion between Bangladesh and China regarding all issues," said the foreign minister.

Hasan said Li recalled the relationship that was planted through the 1952 and 1957 visits of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and with six visits of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the relations will be expanded further in the coming days.

Sheikh Hasina invited the Chinese president, the prime minister and others to visit Bangladesh next year to celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Both the leaders put emphasis on celebrating the golden jubilee of the diplomatic relationship in a befitting manner.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought Chinese cooperation to resolve the Rohingya issue.

She put emphasis on reducing the trade gap with China. In reply, the Chinese prime minister talked about importing more Bangladesh products to his country.

Hasina requested her Chinese counterpart to import leather products, jute products, pharmaceutical goods, and ceramic products.

Both countries have agreed to work together to establish world peace and uphold humanity across the globe.

Premier Hasina invited more Chinese investments in 100 special economic zones and Bangabandhu Industrial Park mentioning that Bangladesh has allotted one export processing zone for Chinese investors.

She pointed out Bangladesh's desire to be included in BRICS in any format.

Li assured her of their support regarding this inclusion.

Hasina sought Chinese cooperation so that Bangladesh could enjoy the LDC facilities at least three more years in its official graduation to middle-income country after 2026. The Chinese prime minister gave a positive response.

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