Adhere to Equality and Mutual Trust Create a Prosperous Future Together--Speech at the Friendship Reception for Chinese Bangladesh Industrial and Commercial Community
2018/12/28

H.E. Mr. Zhang Zuo

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh

27 December 2018

Mr. Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry,

Mr. Lin Weiqiang, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh,

Dear Mr. Osama Taseer, President ofDhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry,

Distinguished guests and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Assalamualaikum and good evening.

It is a great pleasure for me to attend the Friendship Reception for Chinese Bangladesh Industrial and Commercial Community and meet with so many well-known entrepreneurs and business people here. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you, and pay high tribute to all the guests who have committed to China-Bangladesh friendship!

Ladies and gentlemen,

Bangladesh is a good neighbor, good friend of China. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have maintained a good momentum of all-round development and have become a model for coordination, cooperation and common development. During the successful state visit of president Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in October 2016, our bilateral relationship was elevated to Strategic Partnership of Cooperation, which started a new chapter in China-Bangladesh relations.

Economy and trade has become the most active and productive area of cooperation between the two countries. According to Chinese statistics, in 2017, our bilateral trade value reached over 16 billion dollars, 5.8% higher than 2016, with China remaining the no.1 trade partner to Bangladesh.The value of engineering contracts signedby Chinese companies reached 10.4 billion dollars, Bangladesh being the second largest market in South Asia. In the first 10 months of this year, our bilateral trade volume stood at 15.52 billion dollars, with an annual growth rate of 21.3%.Engineering contracts value reached 4.74 billion dollars, no.1 in South Asia and no. 9 globally. Chinese FDI in non-financial sector reached 140 million dollars, 1.85 times higher than that of last year. Collaborations in finance and e-commerce are becoming increasingly active.Shenzhen-Shanghai stock exchange consortium and Dhaka Stock Exchange have completed the transferring of 25% of the shares acquired from DSE. Ant Financial has become the strategic partner of Bkash, the biggest online payment company of Bangladesh. All of these have demonstrated the huge cooperation space for our two countries in the new economy, and provided more development opportunities for the industrial and commercial community.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In a world of historical drastic change, China and Bangladesh face unprecedented opportunities and challenges. We need to deepen cooperation and work together. I'd like to put forward the following suggestions:

Firstly, we need to uphold equality and mutual trust. China and Bangladesh should be in the same boat,stick to sincerity, friendship and equality, close high-level exchanges, enhance strategic mutual trust, and build the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation in a new era with a broader perspective.

Keeping the spirit of partnership in mind, we should work together to promote the building of mechanisms, coordinate the policy standards, sign or amend bilateral treaties or agreements in the fields of investment, consular protection, judicial assistance, inspection and quarantine, certification and accreditation, customs clearance, personnel exchanges and so on, so that the great potential of mutual trust and win-win cooperation could be released. We should strengthen our coordination and cooperation in the multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and WTO. China supports necessary reforms of WTO while maintaining the core values and basic principles of WTO, such as openness, inclusiveness and non-discrimination. We should oppose unilateralism, firmly uphold free trade and a rules-based multilateral trading system.

What I'd like to mention in particular is that China's economic and social development goals this year will be realized with GDP growth rate of around 6.5%. China has the conditions and ability to deal with various risks and challenges. The overall momentum of sound growth will continue. China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April next year and the China International Import Expo every year. The industrial and commercial community of Bangladesh is welcome to get aboard the fast train of high-quality development of China.

Secondly, we need to pursue win-win cooperation. We shouldwork together to enhance bilateral cooperation. China has launched a series of major measures to deepen reform, expand opening up, and promote innovation. The tariffs on automobiles and other commodities were further reduced, market access was greatly relaxed in areas such as finance and manufacturing, and imports were further expandedproactively. All these measures will certainly open up new space for China-Bangladesh economic and trade cooperation.

We need to work together to deepen pragmatic cooperation, accelerate the design and building of the BCIM Economic Corridor, and advance pragmatic cooperation under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative focusing on policy coordination, facilities connectivities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bond. We should jointly safeguard free trade, conclude the joint feasibility study of China Bangladesh Free Trade Agreement, and start formal negotiations to further facilitate investment and trade between our two countries. At the same time, our two governments should sign the Letters of Exchange on zero-tariff treatment for 97% of Bangladesh products exported to China as soon as possible.In doing so, the export of the competitiveBangladesh products to China could befurther expanded and Bangladeshi enterprises could be benefited.

What I'd like to point out is that China embarked onthe great journey of reform and opening up in 1978. After 40 years, China has become the world's second largest economy. Since the international financial crisis, the Chinese economy has contributed over 30 percent of the global growth. China has successfully established the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up on18 December 2018, President Xi Jinping declared China's strong determination to deepen the reform and opening up in the new era, which will certainly create greater opportunities for the common development of all countries. We welcome the industrial and commercial community of Bangladesh to share more of the dividends of China's reform and opening up.

Thirdly, we need to encourage innovation-driven development. We should deepen industry productivity cooperation and encourage enterprises from both sides to cooperate in the fields of industrial parks development, agriculture, building materials, power, textile, petrochemical, rail transportation, automobile, telecommunication, engineering machinery, ship building and marine engineering equipment.

We should strengthen innovation cooperation, close communications among scientific research institutions, foster new driving forces for common development, promote deep integration of digital economy and real economy,and actively expand cooperation in the fields of digital economy, green economy, ocean economy, sharing economy, internet finance and etc. Meanwhile, we should be alert to the risks and challenges when applying new technologies and strengthen the construction of institution and legal systems. We could explore China-Bangladesh plus cooperation, jointly develop third-party markets, and foster new technologies, new industries, new forms of business, and new models together. China will support enterprises to carry out infrastructure cooperation in Bangladesh in the fields of energy, railway, bridge, telecommunication and so on, and promote the G2G economic and trade cooperation projectsto make positive progress.

It needs to be emphasized that China encourages financial institutions to provide financing support for cooperation projects in accordance with market principle. The Padma Bridge Rail Link Project is China's largest G2G project worldwide. The Payra thermal power plant initiated PPP financing model. The cooperation between the consortium of Shenzhen-Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Dhaka Stock Exchange has enhanced financing and bond-issuing ability. We could explorecooperation and sign agreements onsecurities and exchange surveillance, currency swap, risk supervision, promote direct investment, loans and settlement cooperation in Renminbi and improve the investment and financing support system.

Fourthly, we need to adhere to inclusive development. We should follow a people-centered principle, take the initiative to build a balanced and inclusive development model, strengthen support for vulnerable groups, and support exchanges and cooperation in poverty reduction, disaster prevention, climate change, environmental protection, energy conservation and emission reduction.

We need to pursue common development and respect diversity and each other's choices of development path. We should enhance the communications between the parliaments, political parties, and non-governmental organizations of the two countries, close exchanges between women, youth, and religious groups, continue to deepen the cooperation in culture, education, health, technology, sports, media, tourism, local governance and so on, and jointly create a favorable business environment. It is necessary to build a common ground for peace and security, strengthen cooperation on defense security, law enforcement security, and information security, and cope with traditional and non-traditional security challenges to achieve universal security and common security.

I'd like to reiterate that China pays high attention to the issue of Rakhine State in Myanmar and proposed a three-phased proposal of "cessation of violence, repatriation and development". China has hosted two tripartite informal meetings with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and promoted consensus achievedin principle on repatriation of the people who fled from Rakhine State to Bangladesh. The Chinese side hopes that the two sides couldinitiate the first repatriation as soon as possible so as to make a good start for solving the complex historical problem. China is willing to work together with the international community, continue to play an active and constructive role, and provide constructive support.

Ladies and gentlemen,

All entrepreneurs present tonight are an important force in leading China-Bangladesh economic cooperation. I hope that China and Bangladesh will work together to advance against the waves andwe can all develop together and share prosperity in our cooperation.

Long live the friendship between China and Bangladesh!

Thank you all! Dhonnobud!

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