Research Fellow, BIDS
The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh is mostly important in terms of economic gain and focus should be on the One Belt, One Road connectivity and investment in infrastructural development, Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) told the Dhaka Tribune.
The One Belt, One Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among China and the rest of Eurasia. It consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR).
There are many opportunities for Bangladesh in the implementation of one road connectivity. It will improve Bangladesh’s access to markets in neighbouring countries, said Nazneen.
Negotiations should focus on financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on infrastructure and energy transport since Bangladesh is a partner of the bank, Nazneen noted. For the One Belt, One Road project, Bangladesh should have coordination among all stakeholders to make it effective, she said.
On the other hand, discussions should be centred around how Bangladesh can penetrate the Chinese market with more products.
Ahsan H Mansur,
Executive Director, PRI
Attracting investment in infrastructure, energy and sea port should be the key targets for Bangladesh from Chinese president’s visit, Policy Research Institute (PRI) Executive Director Ahsan H Mansur believes.
Establishing larger connectivity with neighbouring countries with the help of Chinese government is another key issue of the visit, which would help build economic cooperation in the region, he said.
Bangladesh should also give space to Chinese entrepreneurs who are relocating businesses from China to invest here. It would help Bangladesh bring foreign investment, the economist said.
Establishment of the proposed Special Economic Zone should be expedited as China has pledged to provide $1billion for the purpose, he added.
However, Bangladesh has to ensure good governance and improve institutional capacity for attracting such big investments, Mansur said.
Abdul Matlub Ahmed,
Bangladesh’s expectation from the Chinese president’s visit is investment in infrastructure and potential manufacturing sectors like jute, leathers and high end garments.
Matlub, the president of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said: “I think the topmost agenda of the discussion should focus on investment in infrastructure and energy, which is a must for Bangladesh just now to attract foreign investment here.”
On the other hand, Bangladeshi manufacturers have to diversify their export basket by considering exportable products for Chinese markets, he said. The visit promises to bring increased trade, he said. “A 100-member Chinese business delegation is already here,” he pointed out.
People in the readymade garments sector want to be benefited by low cost funds for development of infrastructure and investment in textile backward linkage industry.
“Since China is a powerful economic partner of Bangladesh, I hope, from the president’s visit Bangladesh will see a huge low cost fund support from the country,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Siddiqur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune.
As a growing economy and the second largest RMG exporter in the world, there are lots of opportunities for investment in the backward linkage industry. Demands for spare parts for textile machinery and other materials would increase manifold in the years to come, said Siddiqur.
Bangladesh has set an export target of $50 billion by 2021 and to reach this target the demand of raw materials and backward linkage would see a greater rise., Siddiqur said.
“China also can invest on high value products as it would help us to shift from lower to medium products,” he added.