China-South Asia Exposition Will Create New Opportunities for China-Bangladesh Economic and Trade Cooperation

The 1st China-South Asia Exposition will be held from June 6 to 10, 2013 in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province of China. Bangladesh will be the theme country of the Expo and the rotating president of China-South Asia Business Forum.

The China-South Asia Exposition is the first national level exposition aiming to promote cooperation with South Asian countries. By honoring Bangladesh as the theme country of the Expo, the Chinese side demonstrates its will to strengthen its economic and trade cooperation with Bangladesh. The Expo will serve as a platform to showcase Bangladeshi cultural diversity and development achievements, boost Bangladesh's export to China and attract more Chinese investment, facilitate the mutual understanding and friendly exchanges between China and Bangladesh, and provide a golden opportunity for the two countries to deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The economic and trade cooperation between China and Bangladesh have maintained good momentum in recent years, and the proportion of our bilateral trade volume is increasing in the total trade volume between China and South Asian countries. Bangladesh now has become China's third biggest trade partner in South Asia, while China is the largest origin of Bangladesh's imports. According to China's statistics, the trade volume reached 8.45 billion USD in 2012, 7 times more than that of 2002. The growth rate of bilateral trade has achieved 36.6% in the first quarter of this year, with that of Bangladesh's export to China standing at 37.5%, which is quite encouraging. More and more Chinese businessmen are willing to invest in Bangladesh and the growth rate of direct investment is accelerating. At the same time, there are still some challenges to overcome, i.e. reducing trade imbalance, enriching cooperation modalities, diversifying trade categories, and expanding trade platforms.

China is the largest neighboring country of South Asia and has become the second largest economy in the world. At present, China is making every effort to adjust its economic structure, change the modality of development, and implement the strategy of developing the western regions and expand its opening-up. With rich human resources, high level economic openness and preferential fiscal & monetary policies, Bangladesh has achieved strong economic growth in recent years. China and Bangladesh are highly complementary in economy, and there is great potential for the two regional countries to deepen economic and trade cooperation.

The report of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) noted that "China will continue to promote friendship and partnership with our neighbors, consolidate friendly relations and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with them, and ensure that China's development will bring more benefits to our neighbors". Inviting Bangladesh to participate the first China-South Asia Expo, China hopes to make full use of the respective advantages of the two countries, expand and deepen economic and trade cooperation, realize industrial docking and share development dividends, so as to achieve development and prosperity together. China always attaches importance to addressing problems in bilateral economic and trade cooperation and has taken positive steps. Since 2010, China has gradually given Bangladesh-made goods duty-free status. Currently, more than 4,700 items of Bangladesh-made goods enjoy duty-free facility when exported to China, and China is expected to further expand the facility in 2013 and gradually achieve the goal to cover 97% of the Bangladesh-made goods. We believe this initiative will provide strong support for Bangladesh friends to export Bangladesh-made goods to China.

Currently, Yunnan Province is now experiencing dynamic economic growth in China, enjoying over 10% of GDP growth over the years. In the year 2012, the GDP of Yunnan Province is more than 1 trillion Yuan (160 billion USD). Thanks to geological proximity, Yunnan and Bangladesh have maintained close economic, trade and cultural exchanges since ancient times. The two places were tightly linked by the Ancient Silk Road, while Yunnan has been the bridgehead and leader in the bilateral economic and trade cooperation. By further developing this cooperation, Bangladesh will be connected to the southwestern part of China and the whole mainland at large. The China-South Asia Expo is providing a valuable opportunity for Bangladesh to strengthen its trade and economic cooperation with Yunnan Province and surf the wave of China's economic boom.

During Premier H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang's visit to India recently, both countries proposed to establish a China-India-Myanmar-Bangladesh economic corridor in their Joint Statement. If the proposal is materialized, this economic circle with a population of 2.8 billion will create an unprecedented opportunity for the countries involved. Just as H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang said, only entrepreneurs with vision and perspective can seize this opportunity. Now, the China-South Asia Expo is serving this best opportunity to you.

I believe the Bangladeshi friends can firmly grasp the development trend of the world economy, and fully utilize China-South Asia Expo as an economic and trade cooperation platform. Through jointly pursuing innovation, cooperation and development, I am sure that you will make new and greater contribution to promotion of China-Bangladesh economic and trade cooperation, and stabilization and prosperity of South Asia.

Qu Guangzhou

Political Counsellor & DCM of the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka

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