China plans to expand duty-free access to 99 percent of Bangladeshi goods and services from 98 percent now, a major win for the local exporters during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Dhaka visit.
Yi discussed the decision during a bilateral meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday.
“It’s good news for Bangladesh as we have a thriving economy based on exports,” said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.
”We already had duty-free access for 98 percent of items exported to China. The remaining 2 percent, like any other bilateral trade, has been important and sensitive. Now, they have offered duty-free access to 1 percent more from Sept 1.”
The state minister said the new tax advantage is likely to include garments and woven products and other products that had previously faced some restrictions.
“We’ll get the list [of the products] in the evening. The councillor of commerce said he would provide the list to the press,” he said.
The decision is the biggest success of the visit by the Chinese foreign minister, said Shahriar Alam. He also said China mentioned the possibility of a joint feasibility study regarding the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries.
While discussing Chinese investment and technology support to the economic zones in Bangladesh, China said they would help Bangladesh, particularly to establish more Chinese factories and provide more technology in the Chinese Economic Zone to be set up in Anowara.
“China requested us to begin operations in the special economic zone soon,” the state minister said.
A new memorandum of understanding regarding PPP cooperation is likely to be signed between the two countries, Alam said, citing the Chinese foreign minister.
“It’s a new proposal and we’ll discuss it further,” he said.
When asked, the state minister said the new memorandum of understanding is not likely to be related to BRI.
Direct flights with China will ensure more connectivity between the people in Bangladesh and China, Alam said, citing Yi.
“Our foreign minister [AK Momen] promised on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that we would work together to increase foreign direct investment. He said it is important to reduce the balance in the trade deficit.”
The bilateral meeting also focused on the Rohingya issue and China said it would work continuously to resolve the issue politically, as the internal challenges in Myanmar are troubling not only Bangladesh but also other countries.
”Our foreign minister strongly reiterated that Chinese cooperation is needed on this issue. China has progressed on resolving the Rohingya issue and we need the situation to come to an end,” Alam said.