China, Bangladesh ink 40 deals worth $20 bn during Xi visit

PTI Dhaka | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 14, 2016

xi-bangla   -  Reuters

Bangladesh and China today signed 40 agreements, including loan and investment deals in the infrastructure sector worth over USD 20 billion, as they upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership after Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Premier Sheikh Hasina.

“We agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh relations from a closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a strategic partnership of cooperation and to increase high level exchanges and strategic communication so that our bilateral relations continue to move ahead at a higher level,” Xi said after his talks with Hasina.

“China-Bangladesh relationship is now at a new historical starting point and heading toward a promising future,” Xi said.

After bilateral talks, Xi and Hasina witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and MoUs involving the two governments.

Chinese 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.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, while briefing reporters on the deals, however, preferred not to quote any figure.

“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.

Commerce ministry officials confirmed that 13 of the projects over which China signed deals with 11 Bangladeshi private enterprises and two government entities mainly covering infrastructure, communication, power and energy and sports involved USD 13.6 billion.

In another significant development, Bangladesh also extended its support to Xi’s pet Belt and Road Initiative over which India has expressed its apprehensions in the past.

Bangladesh, Hasina said, 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.

“We agreed to form synergy between our respective development strategies, jointly advance the belt and road initiative and launch the joint feasibility study on a China- Bangladesh FTA to strengthen our trade and investment cooperation and strengthen practical cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure, productivity capacity, energy and power, transportation, ICT and agriculture,” Xi said.

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Published on October 14, 2016
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