Chinese ambassador to Dhaka Li Jiming on Wednesday assured that Bangladeshi industries, especially textile and readymade garment, and the construction of mega projects in Bangladesh would not be affected due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus in China.
‘I have learnt that Chinese people have now come back to businesses in most cities, except Wuhan, and so, there is hardly any possibility of major impact on bilateral trade between the two countries due to the outbreak,’ he said at a meet-the-press programme held in Dhaka.
Wuhan, which is still going through a tough situation as the epicentre of the virus, will not affect the fundamental picture of supply chain of Bangladeshi industries like RMG as the city having population of only 10 million is not a production centre for textile or apparel products, he said.
China embassy and Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly organised the programme at the National Press Club to discuss coronavirus and overall situation of the country.
He agreed that now the biggest concern of Bangladeshi businesses was whether there was any necessity to shift supply chain from China to other countries in the current situation.
‘But the answer is definitely “no” and it will be a “stupid decision” to think of shifting the supply chain,’ he said.
Bangladeshi traders, who import more than 70 per cent of textile materials from China, have been experiencing a little bit disruption in supply chain as people went into Chinese New Year vacation which was extended up to several weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, he said.
So, there is no need to be worried as business activities have started becoming normal and suppliers started shipments of products, he added.
According to the BCCCI, Bangladesh imported goods worth $13.64 billion from China, more than 26 per cent of the Bangladesh’s global import, in the last fiscal year 2018-2019 and exported goods worth only $831 million to the world’s second largest economy in the year.
According to the National Board of Revenue data, Bangladesh’s import from China fell by 22 per cent year-on-year in January.
Li said that the Chinese government had also decided not to adjust the economic growth target and other the targets would not be revised.
‘The Chinese government has full confidence, capabilities and determination to win the battle and urged people not to be panicked with spread of inaccurate and unscientific information,’ he said.
The ambassador said that China was handling the situation with efficiency and the rate of new suspect started coming down.
He also said that construction works of mega projects would not be affected as only 10 per cent of the Chinese people working in the projects went to China to enjoy New Year vacation.
The construction works may be affected if the government imposes ban on import of goods and equipment from China, he said.
BCCCI president Gazi Golam Mortuza claimed that Bangladesh’s import from the country had not so far affected much due to the coronavirus as businesses imported adequate raw materials and other goods before beginning the New Year vacation.
‘We will have to wait few more weeks to understand the actual situation,’ he said.
He also said that it would put a negative impact if the coronavirus situation continued worsening.
BCCCI secretary general Md Shahjahan Mridha Benu, joint secretary general Al Mamn Mridha, Chinese commercial counsellor Liu Zhenhua, among others, were present at the programme.
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