B’desh may lose potential Chinese investment if climate not improved

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 11:25pm on February 19, 2017


Chinese business delegation head Lyu Xinhua, also the chairman of Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation, speaks at a press briefing after the team’s meeting with Bangladeshi businesspeople at the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry office in Dhaka on Sunday. FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad was present, among others. — New Age photo

A Chinese business delegation on Sunday said that Bangladesh might lose a huge number of potential investments from China unless investment climate in Bangladesh was improved.
Delegation head Lyu Xinhua, also the chairman of Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation, made the observation while speaking at a press briefing after the China-Bangladesh Business Meeting held in Dhaka.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the meeting where Bangladeshi businesspeople got opportunity to hold business-to-business meetings with 22 Chinese organisations based on their respective areas of interest.
FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad chaired the event before the business-to-business direct discussions, where Bangladesh Investment Development Authority executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam, Chinese ambassador Ma Mingqiang, CPSSC chairman Lyu Xinhua, FBCCI first vice-president Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority executive member Emdadul Haque were present, among others.
Replying a question regarding Bangladesh’s investment situation, Lyu Xinhua said that Chinese organisations were very much enthusiastic about making investment in Bangladesh as they considered Bangladesh as one of the best investment-friendly countries in Asia.
He, however, said that Chinese investors were facing some difficulties and challenges in making investment in Bangladesh.
As some other countries are trying to attract Chinese investment by improving their infrastructure and the overall investment climate, Bangladesh will have to improve as well, said Lyu, also a former vice-foreign minister of China.
‘If you do not improve your environment for foreign investment, our companies will go elsewhere,’ he said.
Kazi M Aminul Islam said in doing business Bangladesh ranked 176th and the country has taken a number of initiatives to improve the situation.
Once the measures are implemented fully in the next five years, Bangladesh will become one of most attractive markets in the world, the BIDA executive chairman said.
He also called on the China delegation members to inform him if they face any problem in making investment in Bangladesh.
Ma Mingqiang said although China imports more from Pakistan but the country focuses on Bangladesh due to geographical reasons.
Mentioning her government’s intention to increase investment in Bangladesh hugely, the Chinese ambassador said that the visit of China’s president Xi Jinping twice (in 2010 as vice-president) within six years to Bangladesh was a testimony to the degree of importance the country gives Bangladesh.
On the trade deficit of around $8.83 billion, Mingqiang said that to reduce the trade deficit China had been allowing duty-free access of 4,751 products from Bangladesh.
In the fiscal 2015-16, Bangladesh’s export to China was $808.14 million against import of $9,645.80 million.
Mingqiang also suggested that Bangladesh should increase product diversification to grab more share in the Chinese market as it would emerge as the biggest consumption-oriented market.
Mentioning the signing of contracts worth $13 billion between China enterprises and Bangladesh businesses in last year as a landmark achievement, Abdul Matlub Ahmad said that these projects would enable Bangladesh to cross new distance and garner mutual prosperity.
Matlub said Bangladesh possessed an ideal business environment and would provide every support to Chinese investors.
Calling on Chinese investors to invest and build economic and industries zones, he also highlighted the scope of investment in metallurgy, resource processing, equipment manufacturing, light industry, electronics and textiles, semiconductors and nanotechnology industry clusters in Bangladesh.
He also said that the ‘One Belt One Road’ project would address the need for the modern business-friendly communication and transportation network between Bangladesh and China.