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No Chinese in Bangladesh or no Bangladeshi in China infected by coronavirus: Envoy

Independent Online/UNB

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Thursday suggested all to remain alert but not to create any panic saying no Chinese national here (Bangladesh) and no Bangladesh national in China is infected by coronavirus.

"Let general people be alert but don't create panic," he said urging all to avoid spreading rumours.           

The Ambassador made the remarks while briefing a small group of journalists at the Embassy. Deputy Chief of Mission Hualong Yan, was, among others, present.    

He said no one of them in Chinese Embassy and no Chinese national working in Bangladesh development projects is infected by  coronavirus.

At the same time, he said, no Bangladesh citizen living in entire China is infected.             

The Ambassador expressed displeasure due to what he said for "overreaction" from countries like the USA and Australia on the situation.  
    
As of now, 25 countries have reported confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, including China, where 24,363 people had contracted the virus, or over 99% of all cases, according to WHO.  

In all other countries, 191 cases have contracted the virus.

To fight further spread of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China and globally, and protect states with weaker health systems, the international community has launched a US$675 million preparedness and response plan covering the months of February through to April 2020.

“My biggest worry is that there are countries today who do not have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge,” said DrTedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers.”

The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for the new coronavirus lays out activities and resources needed by international health organizations globally, including WHO, to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare and respond to nCoV-2019 for a period February-April 2020.

The objectives of the plan are to  limit human-to-human transmission of the virus, particularly in countries most vulnerable if they were to face an outbreak; identify, isolate and care for patients early; communicate critical risk and event information; minimize social and economic impact; reduce virus spread from animal sources; and address crucial unknowns.

The plan focuses on rapidly establishing international coordination and operational support; scaling up country readiness and response operations; and accelerating priority research and innovation.

“The effectiveness of outbreak response depends on the preparedness measures put in place before outbreaks strike,” said Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

As noted in the SPRP, WHO assesses that the outbreak poses a very high risk in China, and high risk regionally and globally.

The risk assessment was based on factors including the likelihood of further spread, the potential impact on human health, and the varying levels of effectiveness in national preparedness and response measures.

Accelerated action, as called for in the plan, can address these risks and areas requiring support.

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Chinese asked not to travel to China, Bangladesh

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published at 01:04am on February 07, 2020

China has asked its citizens and organisations to minimise their travel between Bangladesh and China in the next few weeks due to outbreak of novel coronavirus, Chinese ambassador Li Jiming said on Thursday.

The development projects undergoing with Chinese assistance are likely to be slowed down for a brief period in absence of a good number of Chinese staff who went to China on vacation, he said.

‘The embassy has already issued notices to Chinese citizens and organisations to minimise their travel between China and Bangladesh in the next few weeks,’ Li said a press briefing at the Chinese embassy in Dhaka.

Most of the 8,000 Chinese staff of the projects funded by the Chinese government were in China on vacation when the outbreak has happened, he said, adding that it might ‘slow down a bit’ implementation of the projects, but not for too long. 

He described as ‘rational decisions’ imposition of temporary suspension on on-arrival visa facilities for Chinese travellers to Bangladesh by the Bangladesh government.

The Chinese embassy in Bangladesh conducted ‘a statistical screening’ of the health condition of Chinese nationals in Bangladesh soon after the outbreak, and no suspected or confirmed cases has so far been identified, the ambassador said.

Bangladesh citizens staying in China and people who were evacuated from Wuhan were also not infected with the disease, he said.

He urged all for refraining from spreading rumour and creating panic among people involving the outbreak.

Movement of people ‘are controlled as preventive measures to contain the outbreak’, the ambassador said, and, ‘it does not mean that all cities [in China] are under lockdown, all roads closed and all restaurants are shut.’

Li said a German news magazine Der Spiegel caused panic with spreading rumour ‘coronavirus made in China’ recently, and it was not expected in this situation.

Some countries including the US, Australia and Italy ‘overreacted’ with taking measures including suspending flights, he said.

Export and import can continue too as virus does not spread through goods, he added.

Replying to a question on shortage of food alleged by some Bangladesh citizens now staying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, Chinese embassy deputy chief of mission Yan Hualong said there is no shortage of food and people can stay indoors in safety with limited opportunity to go out for things like groceries.

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New export potential unlocked in Chinese market

Starting from July 1, some 8,256 Bangladeshi products will get zero tariff facility in the Chinese market

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The world economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic and the global trade is almost in a standstill for the last five months. Factories are being closed down in the country due to cancellation in buying orders in the garment sector.

Amid such a grim economic situation, Bangladesh's large trading partner China has offered a breath of relief.  

The country has offered zero tariff facility to 97% of items imported from Bangladesh.

The new announcement will come into effect on July 1 this year. From that day, 8,256 Bangladeshi products will get zero tariff facility in the Chinese market.

Bangladeshi manufacturers will be able to avail this duty-free and quota-free facility after 40% value addition to these products. 

After the decision was approved by the Chinese government on June 16 (Tuesday), the country notified the Bangladesh government about it on Friday through the Bangladesh High Commission in China. 

Stakeholders concerned believe this opportunity is expected to give a boost to Bangladesh's exports to the Chinese market and attract foreign investment into Bangladesh. 

There is a strong prospect of expanding markets of Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products, readymade garments, frozen food, fish and vegetables in China. 

The Bangladesh government hopes the new facility will help to reduce the expanding trade gap between Bangladesh and China. 

Mamun Rashid, joint-secretary to Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The Business Standard there is a huge demand for Bangladeshi traditional products as well as pharmaceutical items in China that has a population of around 140 crore. 

"Bangladesh could not use that potential for not having duty-free access to the Chinese market," he said, adding, "it has opened up a new opportunity for Bangladesh."

According to sources at the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh has been enjoying zero tariff facility on 60 percent of export items to China since July 1, 2010 under Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) for LDCs.

However, Bangladesh was not able to benefit much from the opportunity as the facility was on less important export items other than the principal exportable items of Bangladesh . The latest facility would ensure unimpeded access of Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market.

Hafizur Rahman, joint-secretary to the commerce ministry and chief of the WTO Cell, told The Business Standard, "There are many products in Bangladesh which are good in quality but much cheaper when compared to those of China. Those products can find a place in the Chinese market."

Pointing out that China is ready to shift a large number of mills and factories to other countries owing to tough compliance requirements and high costs of production, he  said Bangladesh could become a potential investment destination for China. 

The broader access of Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market will help reduce the expanding trade gap between the two countries and also will help to create employment in the country by attracting more foreign investment, he hoped.        

China has been enjoying an upper hand in bilateral trade. In the last fiscal year, China exported $12 billion worth of goods to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh's exports to the country stood at a paltry $831 million. 

Businesses claim that even though labour in Bangladesh is cheaper than in China and that Bangladeshi products have huge demand in Chinese market, Bangladesh is not being able to increase exports to China due to tariffs.

Bangladesh Tanners' Association President Shahin Ahmed said Bangladesh could previously export over 3,000 products to China without facing tariff barriers by adding 35 percent value to those. However, since the more prominent export items were out of the list of products under the facility, Bangladesh could not get the facility on most of the potential export items.    

At present China buys 50 percent of Bangladesh's tannery products, he said, adding that the sector will benefit from the newly announced facility.

Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries Secretary Shafiuzzaman said, "Although Bangladesh's pharmaceutical industry relies on raw materials from China, we can supply cheaper drugs to China."  

Pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh can still make profit by exporting drugs of similar standard at 20-25% cheaper rates than those offered by Chinese manufacturers, he said, adding that the new tariff-free facility will help to expand the market for Bangladeshi drugs in China.   

Commenting on this, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Owners Association President Rubana Huq told The Business Standard, "China used to provide us duty free access for 60% items of all the tariff lines under its LDC scheme through WTO notification, and I think this has been extended to 98% since the formalities were going on for quite some time." 

"For most of the items we used to enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to China under the prevailing facility, if there were few items left it will now be included," she added.

There are certain issues regarding duty free access to China, she continued, "There are two schemes through which we can get duty free, one is LDC scheme through WTO, and the other is APTA. 

"Though apparently the duty-free and quota-free facility is more beneficial for us at this moment than APTA with respect to product coverage and tariff cut, but when we will lose LDC status we will have to go for APTA."

However, Joint Secretary Hafizur Rahman of the commerce ministry said the new facility will not be affected by Bangladesh's graduation from the LDC status. "The APTA facility has just been put on hold because of this new facility. We will get it back after graduation from the LDC status."

China or Bangladesh: Who to benefit from the move?

The commerce ministry said all potential Bangladeshi export products will get duty-free and quota-free access to China from July 1 this year, but Bangladesh will not have to offer any facility to China for this.

Commerce Secretary Jafar Uddin said China has offered this facility unilaterally to the LDCs at the behest of the World Trade Organisation so Bangladesh will get this facility unconditionally.

Forty-one LDCs including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines have been enjoying zero tariff treatment on their export items to China.

However, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, senior research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said although China has granted this facility to Bangladesh unconditionally, it will be benefited from this indirectly.

He said, "Due to its industrial policy, China is gradually moving away from lighter industries. The country is producing expensive products instead of cheaper ones.

"China will get an opportunity to shift these factories to other countries and then import those products under the zero tariff facility."

Besides, investing in Bangladesh is profitable for Chinese investors as labour has become costlier in China.

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Duty-free benefit may bring in Chinese investments

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Rising wages and living costs in China and an ongoing trade war with the United States have opened up a window of opportunity for Bangladesh

Granting duty-free access to 5,161 additional Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market from July 1 is encouraging news for the country at this time of the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysts and business bodies in the country.

Now, 8,256 Bangladeshi products will be exempted from tariffs in the world's second largest economy, but Bangladesh is not yet sure whether its apparels would be allowed duty-free access to a market of 140 crore consumers. If its garments are not given easy access, experts say Bangladesh's benefits will be minimal.

Yet, Bangladesh has a chance to gain significantly from the move. How?

Rising wages and living costs in China and an ongoing trade war with the United States have opened up a window of opportunity for Bangladesh.

Products made in China have become expensive, and many factory owners are now looking for an alternative place where they can operate cost effectively and export to global markets with duty-free benefit.

The political will that directs Chinese investments overseas also looks favourable for Bangladesh.

Analysts say Bangladesh can benefit from this policy if it can respond appropriately to the Chinese offer.

"We will not benefit significantly from exports unless we deviate from our overdependence on apparels. But Bangladesh can gain significantly from Chinese investments," said Khandaker Golam Moazzem, research director at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

Under a new normal policy, China will shift its low-end products to countries that are cheaper for them and then they will re-export those products to China and other parts of the world with the duty-free benefit that Bangladesh enjoys, he said.

"But Bangladesh has to expedite work on the economic zone for Chinese companies. Also, Mirsarai can be developed fast to house Chinese factories," said Moazzem.

Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), said many Chinese companies are in talks with them for the last two years.

"A big Chinese chemical company has been allocated 100 acres of land at Mirsarai. Some others are in the pipeline," Chowdhury said.

On the development of the Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone at Anwara in Chattogram, he said the progress is not significant. "It is tough to speed up work in Bangladesh because of the various legal and bureaucratic tangles that are part of such projects," he noted.

In mid-June in 2017, the Beza and China Harbour Engineering Company signed an agreement for the development of the Chinese economic and industrial zone in Bangladesh on 781 acres of land at Anwara.

However, there are criticisms of Beza's handling of the economic zone developments across the country.

Shahed Alam, vice-president of Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce and Industry, criticised Beza for taking a move to develop 100 economic zones at a time.

"We have been hearing this for the last several years, but there is little progress," said Alam. "Finish five zones, then take another five for development, and this is how you can boost the confidence of investors," he said.

Why factories from China may shift

China's competitive advantage of low-labour cost has evaporated over the years as the standard of living rose for its population.

Rising costs, cancellation of tax preferences for foreign companies, the ongoing trade war with the USA and the Covid-19 impact on the global supply chain have forced western companies to think about moving out of China and relocate to countries that have advantages on costs and market access.

The minimum wage in all major Chinese provinces, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, have crossed $300 mark last year – three times higher than Bangladesh's present $100. The minimum wage in Vietnam is nearly $200 per month.

This is forcing some foreign manufacturers to either close their China plants or relocate to countries with lower costs. Sony Mobile has shut down its mobile phone factory in Beijing in March, while Samsung is reported to be ready to close its Huizhou plant.

According to reports in International media, China has recently taken a policy to shift low-cost production units away from China. The Asian giant has decided to upgrade its industries and move up the value-added chain.

With an increasing number of educated youths and fewer rural migrant workers, it has become harder for low value-added production units to operate there. Here lies Bangladesh's opportunity along with Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Stringent rules of origin is a big barrier

The latest duty-free market access to China has come up with the condition of 40% value addition (rules of origin), meaning that Bangladesh has to add 40% value to a product's price if it wants to get duty-free benefit.

"It is very stringent. Bangladesh has a few items whose 40% value addition can be done locally," said Moazzem of CPD.

Currently, Bangladesh exports to China under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) with 35% local value addition requirement.

Leaders of Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCCI) also believe that fulfilling the condition of 40% domestic value addition is very tough.

"We are not sure about it. We will come to know about it on July 1," said Al Mamun Mridha, joint secretary general of the BCCCI.

Bangladesh-China trade

Trade between the two Asian economies has been rising rapidly for the past decade but the balance is heavily in China's favour.

Bangladesh exported goods worth $319 million to China in the fiscal year 2010-11, while China's exports to Bangladesh were $5.9 billion.

After nine years, in the fiscal year 2018-19, Bangladesh's exports increased to $831 million and China's export number stood at over $13.65 billion.

But the good thing is Bangladesh's exports to China have risen by 160% while the figure for China's is 131% between the period of 2010-11 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

It seemed duty-free benefits on some items under the APTA since January 2015 has helped Bangladesh boost its exports to China. Bangladesh's exports became almost double to over $800 million in the fiscal year 2015-16 from $458 million a year ago.

In the following year, Bangladesh's exports crossed a $900 million mark for the first time, but since then it has been declining and reached less than $700 million in the fiscal year 2017-18.

In the first eight months till February in the current fiscal year, Bangladesh exported $470 million worth of goods to China.

Bangladesh's main exports to China include leather and leather goods, shrimp, T-shirts, jeans, jute and jute goods and charcoal etc. Bangladesh imports basic raw materials, intermediate goods, chemicals and machinery from China for its apparel industry.

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China to fast-track construction of its economic zone in Ctg

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China has finally decided to speed up the development of the dedicated Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone (CEIZ) in Chattogram mainly to benefit from the competitive advantage Bangladesh enjoys in global trade.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had offered creation of the zone during her visit to China in 2014.

In 2015, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had given approval for CEIZ to be set up exclusively for Chinese investors on 774.25 acres of land in Anwara upazila.

A CEIZ Development Company was also formed by the zone's designated developer, China Harbour Engineering Company, and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) to run the CEIZ.

In order to get the zone prepared for prospective businesses, the Bangladesh government would provide Tk 420.37 crore while China Harbour $100 million.

But there had been little progress on bringing to life this first specialised government-to-government economic zone.

However, earlier this month, China Harbour wrote to Beza urgently seeking the signing of a deal which would allow them to start work on the CEIZ.

China Harbour said the $100 million was ready to be brought in while it had got businesses interested through promotional activities and follow ups based on Bangladesh's favourable investment environment and global reputation of its parent company, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

Over 60 enterprises have expressed their willingness to invest nearly $280 million to set up businesses in CEIZ and wanted to take 40 per cent of the land of the zone through sub-lease.

China Harbour has already obtained all necessary approvals regarding the investment from the CCCC and China's Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission.

The designs have been finalised and China Harbour is ready to start work on infrastructure development, for which they are pushing the government, according to Jiang Wei, project representative of CEIZ.

"We will focus on four sectors for investment in the zone -- logistics, manufacturing, chemical and readymade garment," he said.

The zone has access to water transportation and is suitable for export-oriented industries due to its proximity to the Chattogram port, Bangladesh's largest sea port.

"The CEIZ will be able to eventually attract more than $1 billion in foreign investment, create 60,000 to 90,000 new jobs, directly or indirectly, and ultimately boost industrialisation and develop the economy of the surrounding Chattogram district," the company said.

Pointing out that the global economy, including that of Bangladesh, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, it said the rapid development of CEIZ would contribute to the recovery of Bangladesh's economy and deepen economic ties between the two countries.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza, said the Chinese side was very keen on rapid implementation of the zone for setting up factories and start manufacturing.

Basically, Chinese investors are interested in Bangladesh as they want to take advantage of the country's competitiveness in global trade, such as its eligibility for low tariffs, he said.

"We should introduce long-term policies so that investors can take initiatives about investment. This is also needed to attract foreign direct investment,'' Chowdhury noted.

He said foreign investors have no question regarding the existing policies in Bangladesh but they want those to be stable.

The policy stability issues, including those on taxes and custom duties, were pointed out by a visiting Chinese delegation in November 2019. They stated to be happy with the existing rules and regulations for businesses.

Policy stability was needed to help investors prepare their business plan and avoid uncertainties as the world's second-largest economy looked to broaden its footprint in Bangladesh through investments and relocating factories, they said. 

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Chinese chemical maker rebuffs pandemic fears, wants to invest $300m

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Yabang Investment Holdings Group Co Ltd, a concern of Yabang Group of China, has expressed its willingness to invest $300 million in textile and other chemical industries inside Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Chattogram.

This the highest amount of investment proposal received by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) during the pandemic.

Xiaochu Xu, chairman of Yabang Group, placed his proposal and sought 100 acres of developed land under an annual lease agreement yesterday, according to Beza officials.

A master plan was submitted which includes that on bringing about infrastructure development in the project.

They have also submitted the environment management plan to address environmental issues of the project. This will be a project owned 100 per cent by foreigners.

"The ongoing global trade situation is favourable for Bangladesh. And that is why the Chinese businesses are keen to invest in the South Asian nation," said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza.

The investment of Yabang Group will help Bangladesh diversify its export basket as well as ensure technology transfer, he said.

"Basically, Yabang Group wants to take advantage of the global trade competitiveness."

"We will sign a deal on land lease agreement with Yabang Group just after Eid-ul-Azha, as they want to complete the investment process rapidly to go into production as soon as possible," he said.

Foreign investment will come in fast to Bangladesh if responsible local organisations come forward to take advantage of the existing favourable global business climate, he said.

Earlier on June 5, Xu met with Bangladesh's Ambassador in China Mahbub Uz Zaman at his office in Beijing and discussed investment plans in Bangladesh. If things go according to plan, the initial investment may hit around $1 billion and the focus will be given on printing and dyeing, pharmaceuticals and other chemical plants.

The investment holdings group is one of three leading companies in the chemical sector and among 500 top listed companies in China. It has more than 15,000 employees.

Its business covers dye, coating, pigment, medicine, veterinary, pesticide, photovoltaic, logistics, finance and real estate industries. It has more than 60 subsidiary (branch) companies.

The group's annual sales volume exceeds $10 billion with a profit of $500 million. 

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Dhaka negotiates loan deal with Beijing for Teesta project

Shakahwat Hossain    | Published: 00:37, Aug 25,2020 | Updated: 16:11, Aug 25,2020

Bangladesh and China are negotiating a loan deal, reportedly irking India, to implement a proposed engineering project on the trans-boundary Teesta River.

Bangladesh Water Development Board officials said that they were negotiating for the loan from China worth $938.27 million to implement the proposed ‘Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project’.

A feasibility study on the project was completed in 2019 in the country’s northern region that suffers flash floods in the rainy season and draught in the winter due to the unilateral withdrawal of water by India from the Teesta.

Feasibility study project director Aziz Muhammad Chowdhury on Thursday told New Age that they highlighted the importance of the project in the past week while responding to queries made by the authorities in China.

The Economic Relations Division under the ministry of finance is mediating the negotiation between the WDB and the Chinese authority after the financial assistance was sought for the project in June this year.

ERD’s Asia and JEC Wing chief Md Shahriar Kader Siddiky said that they had forwarded to China the information provided by the Water Development Board.

The Chinese authority had sought some clarifications, he said without elaborating.

Aziz hoped that they would conclude the loan agreement before this December as the government wanted to start implementing the project next year.

Bangladesh has been demanding a greater share of the Teesta waters to have higher levels of water in its portion of the river during December and May when  the water level goes down creating difficulties for the farmers in the northern region for long.

A 50:50 water sharing formula was agreed between India and Bangladesh in 2011 but the agreement is yet to be signed despite repeated requests from Bangladesh, said Md Mahmudur Rahman, member of the Joint Rivers Commission, Bangladesh.

The hectic negotiation between Dhaka and Beijing on a possible loan deal on the Teesta project has worried India, according to a report published in the influential Indian daily The Hindu.

As the negotiation on the loan deal between Bangladesh and China has been at the centre of a water-sharing negotiation between Dhaka and Delhi, Indian authorities sent foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on a two-day unscheduled visit to Dhaka on August 18-19 amid the pervasive COVID-19 scare.

The Hindu report commented that the Chinese loan was a landmark in the Delhi-Dhaka relations as it would seal the fate of the India-Bangladesh Teesta water sharing agreement which failed to take off as India’s plans to offer Bangladesh its share of the water was stuck in a political fight between Delhi and West Bengal.

As the water sharing agreement was in decades-old doldrums, the Water Development Board appointed Power Construction Corporation of China, Powerchina in short, in 2016 to conduct a feasibility study on the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project.

The WDB has already prepared a preliminary development project proposal on the basis of the feasibility study. 

According to the PDPP, the project is aimed at upgrading the socio-economic status of Rangpur by establishing new economic growth points along the both banks of the river by preventing floods and removing slits from the river bed.

The Teesta is the fourth largest trans-boundary river to enter Bangladesh from India.

Originating in Sikkim in India and entering Bangladesh in Lalmonirhat, the 315-km-long Teesta travels 153 kilometres through half a dozen other districts, including Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Kurigram, before merging with the Jamuna River at Fulchhari.

Describing the Teesta as a ‘flashy’ river, the PDPP said that flooding in the Teesta discharged maximum 4,500 cubic metres silts per second in addition to causing serious erosion and scouring in a vast area to destabilise the livelihoods of the area’s people.

The PDPP said that the project would yield three times more benefit from the money to be spent to implement the river management project in the country’s one of the poverty-prone areas.

Checking flash floods, caused due to the release of water by India, will change the lifestyle of millions of people, it added.

A report was published in this daily on September 19 last year that the Teesta was flowing above its danger levels due to heavy onrush of waters from India since the opening of 54 flood gates of the Gajaldoba Barrage.

Commissioned by India in 1996, the Gajaldoba Barrage in West Bengal reportedly diverted 85 per cent of the Teesta waters flow in the winter through a link canal to the upper Mahananda River.

The Mahananda falls into the Meichi River in Bihar that links the Fulhar River and reaches the Ganges River upstream of the Farakka Barrage.

JRC member Mahmudur said that they learnt that there had been two more dozens of structures on the Teesta in India to generate more than 5,000 megawatt electricity.

He hastened to add that India never shared the data despite repeated requests.

In fact, no JRC meeting was held during the last one decade despite requests from Dhaka on several occasions, according to officials.

India has kept the talks on common river water sharing with Bangladesh stalled and held back the signing of a Teesta water sharing agreement.

The last water resources minister-level meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission was held in New Delhi in March 2010.

Bangladesh has implemented a major irrigation project on the Teesta named Teesta Barrage — a 615-metre-long dam in Lalmonirhat — for irrigation in the lean period.

Mantu Kumar Biswas, joint chief of the Planning Wing under the minisrtry of water resources, said that the project helped bring over 5.4 lakh hectares area under irrigation.

He said that the proposed Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project was a much-needed project, which was now awaiting the finalisation of the loan deal with China.

Once the deal is finalished, the ministry would seek approval from the executive committee of the National Economic Council for the development project proforma.

Bangladesh water ministry officials said that they had to abandon the construction of another barrage — the Ganges Barrage at Pangsha in Rajbari — following the announcement of its cancellation by prime minister Sheikh Hasina soon after his return from New Delhi in April 2017.

In 2015, the PM declared that the Ganges Barrage would be a joint Bangladesh-India project to ensure the uninterrupted natural flows of the Ganges-Padma through Bangladesh.

In April 1975, India commissioned the Farakka Barrage to divert Ganges water for flushing the Kolkata port.

India’s withdrawal of Ganges waters from the upstream using the Farakka Barrage drastically reduced the river’s water flow into the lower riparian Bangladesh adversely affecting its agriculture, fishery, forestry, navigation, and its industrial growth.

The salinity intrusion deep inside Bangladesh due to the low flow in the Ganges also poses a threat to the biodiversity of the Sunderbans, a world heritage site.

 

http://www.newagebd.net/article/114441/dhaka-negotiates-loan-deal-with-beijing

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02:25 PM, August 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:19 PM, August 27, 2020

Govt permits icddr,b to run Phase-III trial of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine

Star Online Report

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The government has permitted icddr,b to run the Phase-III trial of the Chinese vaccine for Covid-19.

Health minister Zahid Maleque said this today while talking to journalists at the conference room of the ministry in the Secretariat.

Earlier, the minister held a meeting with the icddr,b officials, source said.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), and the inventor Chinese company -- Sinovac Research and Development Limited -- will jointly conduct the trial.

According to the US Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC), the general stages of the development cycle of a vaccine are: exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control.

Phase-III clinical trial means the vaccine is at its final stage of major trials in which the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.

The hospitals where the trial will be conducted are: Mugda General Hospital, two units (unit 1 and 2) of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital and Mohanagar General Hospital.

"The vaccine will be administered to the healthcare staffers who are not infected with Covid-19 as they are exposed to the disease. It will be examined whether and how much antibodies against Covid-19 grow in their bodies," Director of Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) Mahmood-uz-jahan told this newspaper on July 19.

https://www.thedailystar.net/coronavirus-deadly-new-threat/news/govt-permits-icddrb-run-phase-iii-trial-chinese-covid-19-vaccine-1951841

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China’s Xi Ready to take ties with Bangladesh to new heights

United News of Bangladesh/Xinhua. Beijing | Published: 12:11, Oct 04,2020

Chinese president Xi Jinping said on Sunday that he stands ready to work with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Md Abdul Hamid, to better align the two countries' strategies and jointly promote the construction of the Belt and Road, so as to take the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to new heights.

Xi made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with Hamid to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

In his message, Xi said the China-Bangladesh friendship has a long history and remains ever new over time.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 45 years ago, the two countries have always respected each other and treated each other as equals, enhanced political mutual trust and deepened mutually beneficial cooperation that brings tangible benefits to the two peoples, Xi noted.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Bangladesh have stuck together through thick and thin, helped each other and fought against the pandemic side by side, writing a new chapter of bilateral friendship, Xi said.

For his part, Hamid said in the message that the Bangladesh-China relationship is developing rapidly and has covered cooperation in key areas, to which Bangladesh attaches great importance.

He expressed his deep appreciation for China's continuous support for Bangladesh in its socio-economic development progress, adding that he believes the close and friendly relationship between the two countries will continue to deepen in the future.

Also on Sunday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang exchanged congratulatory messages with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Li said in his message that China is willing to deepen practical cooperation with Bangladesh in various fields and promote the steady and sustainable development of the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to better benefit the two countries and their people.

For her part, Hasina said the strategic partnership of cooperation between Bangladesh and China has been developed from the two countries' time-tested friendship and cooperation.

The strengthened Bangladesh-China cooperation has unleashed enormous potential in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region and even around the world, Hasina said.

 

https://www.newagebd.net/article/118060/chinas-xi-ready-to-take-ties-with-bangladesh-to-new-heights

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  • 9 months later...

https://www.thedailystar.net/bangla/সংবাদ/বাংলাদেশের-স্বাধীনতা-সার্বভৌমত্ব-রক্ষায়-চীনের-সহযোগিতা-অব্যাহত-থাকবে-চীনা-পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী

বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা-সার্বভৌমত্ব রক্ষায় চীনের সহযোগিতা অব্যাহত থাকবে: চীনা পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী

শুক্রবার, জুলাই ১৬, ২০২১ ০৮:০২ অপরাহ্ন

বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা, সার্বভৌমত্ব ও অখণ্ডতা বজায় রাখার ক্ষেত্রে চীন তার সহযোগিতা অব্যাহত রাখবে বলে চীনের পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী ওয়াং ই জানিয়েছেন। গতকাল বৃহস্পতিবার উজবেকিস্তানের রাজধানী তাসখন্দে অনুষ্ঠিত একটি সম্মেলনে অংশ নেওয়ার পর বাংলাদেশের পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী এ কে আব্দুল মোমেনের সঙ্গে একটি দ্বিপাক্ষিক বৈঠকে তিনি এ কথা বলেন।

উজবেকিস্তানের তাসখন্দে ‘সেন্ট্রাল অ্যান্ড সাউথ এশিয়া কানেকটিভিটি চ্যালেঞ্জেস অ্যান্ড অপরচুনিটিস’ শীর্ষক ওই সম্মেলনটির আয়োজন করা হয়।

চীনা পররাষ্ট্র মন্ত্রণালয়ের এক বিবৃতি অনুযায়ী, ওয়াং ই বলেছেন যে চীন বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে আন্তর্জাতিক সম্পর্কের ক্ষেত্রে বৈশ্বিক ন্যায্যতা ও ন্যায়বিচারকে গুরুত্ব দেবে এবং অভ্যন্তরীণ বিষয়ে হস্তক্ষেপ না করার মতো প্রাথমিক আদর্শ মেনে চলবে।

বৈঠকে ওয়াং ই মোমেনকে জানান, উন্নয়নের ধারা অব্যাহত রাখতে বাংলাদেশ-চীনের কৌশলগত অংশীদারিত্বমূলক সহযোগিতার ক্ষেত্রে চীন বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে কাজ করতে আগ্রহী।

এছাড়া চীন বাংলাদেশকে প্রয়োজনীয় ভ্যাকসিন সরবরাহ করবে উল্লেখ করে চীনা পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী জানান, মহামারির বিরুদ্ধে লড়াইয়ে বাংলাদেশের ভ্যাকসিনের চাহিদা পূরণের বিষয়ে আলোচনার জন্য চীন প্রস্তুত আছে।

আব্দুল মোমেন চীনা পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রীকে জানান, বাংলাদেশ সব সময় ‘ওয়ান-চায়না’ নীতিকে সমর্থন করে এবং হংকং, তিব্বত ও জিনজিয়াংয়ের মতো চীনের অভ্যন্তরীণ বিষয়ে বাংলাদেশ চীনের নীতিকে দৃঢ়ভাবে সমর্থন করে।

আঞ্চলিক সংহতি বৃদ্ধি এবং বাণিজ্যিক ও অর্থনৈতিক উন্নয়নে স্থল ও সমুদ্রপথের মাধ্যমে এশিয়াকে আফ্রিকা ও ইউরোপের সঙ্গে সংযুক্ত করতে বেল্ট অ্যান্ড রোড ইনিশিয়েটিভ বাস্তবায়নে কাজ করছে চীন। বাংলাদেশ ইতোমধ্যে চীনের এই উদ্যোগে যোগ দিয়েছে।

অন্যদিকে, যুক্তরাষ্ট্র চাচ্ছে বাংলাদেশ তার নেতৃত্বাধীন ইন্দো-প্যাসিফিক স্ট্র্যাটেজি (আপিএস) এ যোগ দিক।

এর আগে, গত মে মাসে বাংলাদেশে নিযুক্ত চীনা রাষ্ট্রদূত লি জিমিং মন্তব্য করেন, বাংলাদেশের উচিত হবে না কোয়াডে যোগ দেওয়া। এতে চীনের সঙ্গে বাংলাদেশের সম্পর্কের অবনতি হতে পারে বলেও মন্তব্য করেন তিনি।

এছাড়া যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, জাপান, অস্ট্রেলিয়া ও ভারতের সমন্বয়ে গঠিত কোয়াডকে তিনি সামরিক জোট হিসেবে অ্যাখ্যায়িত করে বলেন, চীনের উত্থান ও প্রতিবেশী দেশের সঙ্গে সম্পর্কের বিরোধী এই জোট।

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  • 2 months later...

https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/pm-greets-chinese-president-on-72nd-founding-anniversary-1633155874

PM greets Chinese president on 72nd founding anniversary

Published:  October 02, 2021 12:24:34

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today conveyed her heartiest felicitations and warmest greetings to Chinese President Xi Jumping and the friendly people of China on the auspicious occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, BSS reports.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent a letter of felicitation to President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping on the occasion, according to the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

In the letter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on behalf of the government and the people of Bangladesh, conveyed her heartiest felicitations and warmest greetings to President Xi and through him to the government and the friendly people of China.

The premier said, “More than a thousand years back, our two peoples established contacts which facilitated the flow of knowledge, culture and trade between our two ancient civilizations”.

Modern China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is a significant partner for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, she added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina fondly recalled President Xi Jinping's visit to Bangladesh in 2016, during which the two leaders agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh relations to the level of strategic partnership, and her visit to China in 2019 when she had in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations, regional and international issues of common interest with President Xi, and reached broad consensus.

The premier believed that the exchanges and cooperation at various levels between China and Bangladesh will be further strengthened in the coming days.

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