China is welcome, but we want competition for investment

11 October 2016 Editorial Desk

The year 2016 marks the 41st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and China. In the past four decades China-Bangladesh relations have undergone a speedy transformation. Trade between the two countries has grown rapidly, making China Bangladesh's largest trading partner, with the two-way trade accounting for about $12 billion in 2014. While mainland Chinese investment in Bangladesh is still low, China is fast becoming an important partner in developing the latter's physical infrastructure.

The growing bilateral ties between in the past four decades have largely benefited both nations. However, Dhaka-Beijing relations face significant challenges, particularly from a security perspective. China also faces competition in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) from certain regional and global powers while making strategic investments.

Chinese accumulated aid to Bangladesh reached US$ 1.0 billion at the end of 2013. Six friendship bridges in Bangladesh have been built, and the Seventh is under way. Many other mega infrastructure projects are under construction with Chinese fund and technical support.

The first joint group meeting of BCIM countries was successfully held in Kunming, China last December. The four countries agreed that the priorities of BCIM Economic Corridor should focus on, among others, regional connectivity,including transportation, telecommunication, and power and energy, trade and investment, sustainable development and people-to-people exchange.

China has developed itself mainly with American investment. What it to be learnt from China is to create atmosphere for investment from all countries including the Western countries.

China is looking for financing projects in Bangladesh. We know investment is also business for China. Foreign investment is also a way of big corruption without competitive biddings. So it is important for us to create competition for investment if we have to get fair deals.

To create proper climate for investment must be the responsibility of our internal politics.  However well-meaning China is towards us, but the fact is China's politics is not democratic. China's help here has to be limited investment business. We have to put our politics right for stable investment for economic progress.

The present economic progress is imbalanced and corruption is high. This is not a happy situation for China or us. 

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