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Bangladesh, China Sign 21 Instruments, Announce 7 Projects to Strengthen Ties on Diverse Fronts

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7 projects announced:

  • China-Bangladesh Free Trade Agreement
  • China-Bangladesh Bilateral Investment Treaty
  • Digital Connectivity project
  • Double Pipe Line project
  • Rajshahi WASA Surface Water Treatment Plant
  • MoU between Shandong Agricultural University and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur.
  • Luban Workshop in Bangladesh

Bangladesh and China signed 21 instruments today (10 July), including three renewed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), and announced seven additional projects to elevate their relationship from a “strategic partnership” to a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.”

The instruments were inked in the presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang after the delegation-level talks between the two countries at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.

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Earlier, the Bangladesh prime minister was accorded a red-carpet reception as she reached the Great Hall of the People to have a bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang.

On her arrival at the premises of the Great Hall of the People, the prime minister was received by the Chinese premier.

The bilateral talks mainly featured Rohingya issue, business, trade and commerce, investments, and bilateral relations alongside various regional and international matters.

After the delegation-level meeting, the Bangladesh prime minister along with her Chinese counterpart witnessed the exchange of the documents.

The instruments on cooperation in the economic and banking sector, trade and investment, digital economy, infrastructure development, assistance in disaster management, construction of 6th and 9th Bangladesh-China friendship bridges, export of agricultural products from Bangladesh and people to people connectivity were signed.

Among the instruments, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) Managing Director and Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad signed a MoU with the China Media Group (CMG) and an Agreement with the Xinhua News Agency.

The signed instruments are:

1. The MoU on Strengthening Investment Cooperation in the Digital Economy.

2. The MoU on Banking and Insurance Regulatory between China National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA) and Bangladesh Bank.

3. A Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements Export of Fresh Mangoes from Bangladesh to China.

4. The MoU on Exchange and Cooperation in the field of Economic Development Policy.

5. The MoU on Trade and Investment Cooperation.

6. The MoU on Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation.

7. Signing of Minutes of Discussions on the Feasibility Study of the China-aid National Emergency Operation Center in Bangladesh Project.

8. Exchange the Letter on the China-aid 6th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge Renovation Project.

9. Exchange the Letters on the Feasibility Study of China-aid Construction of Nateshwar Archaeological Site Park in Bangladesh Project.

10. Exchange the Letters on the China-aid 9th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge Project.

11. The MoU on Strengthening the Cooperation in Medical Care and Public Health.

12. The MoU on Strengthening the Infrastructure Cooperation.

13. The MoU on Cooperation on Green and Low-Carbon Development.

14. Renewing the MoU on Provision of Hydrological Information of the Yaluzangbu/ Brahmaputra River in Flood Season by China to Bangladesh.

15. The MoU between National Radio and Television Administration and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of Bangladesh.

16. The MoU between the China Media Group (CMG) and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS).

17. The MoU between the China Media Group (CMG) and BTV.

18. An Agreement between the Xinhua News Agency and BSS.

19. An Agreement between the Xinhua News Agency and BTV.

20. Renewing the MoU between the Ministry of Education of China and the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh.

21. The MoU Regarding Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Infrastructure Development.

7 announced projects are:

1. Announcement of the Conclusion of Joint Feasibility Study on China-Bangladesh Free Trade Agreement.

2. Announcing the commencement of negotiation on the Optimization of China-Bangladesh Bilateral Investment Treaty.

3. Announcing the completion of the Modernization of Telecommunication Network for Digital Connectivity project.

4. Announcing the completion of trial run of the Single Point Mooring with Double Pipe Line project.

5. Announcing the commencement of Rajshahi WASA Surface Water Treatment Plant.

6. Signing the MoU between Shandong Agricultural University and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur.

7. Announcing the construction of Luban Workshop in Bangladesh.

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UK inflation holds at 2% in June: official data

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Britain’s inflation rate held steady in June after returning to the Bank of England’s target the previous month, official data showed Wednesday, confounding expectations for another modest slowdown.

The Consumer Prices Index was unchanged at 2.0 percent in June from the same level in May, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement, compared with market forecasts of 1.9 percent.

“Hotel prices rose strongly, while second-hand car costs fell but by less than this time last year,” said ONS chief executive Grant Fitzner.
“However, these were offset by falling clothing prices, with widespread sales driving down their cost.

“Meanwhile, the cost of both raw materials and goods leaving factories fell on the month, though factory gate prices remain above where they were a year ago.”

Analysts said the data could cause the Bank of England to sit tight for a while longer before starting to cut interest rates.

“The chances of an interest rate cut in August have diminished a bit more,” said Paul Dales, chief UK economist at research consultancy Capital Economics.

Last month, the BoE kept its key interest rate at a 16-year high of 5.25 percent, despite slowing inflation in May.

Britain’s newly elected Labour government welcomed news that inflation remained at the BoE’s target level.

“It is welcome that inflation is at target,” said Darren Jones, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in a statement.

“But we know that for families across Britain prices remain high… (which) is why this government is taking the tough decisions now to fix the foundations” of the UK economy, he said.

Labour, led by new Prime Minister Keir Starmer, has pledged immediate action to grow the economy after the centre-left party won a landslide general election victory to end 14 years of Conservative rule.

Later on Wednesday, King Charles III will read out Labour’s first programme for government in a decade and a half, when the UK parliament formally reopens following the July 4 election.
Elevated interest rates have worsened a UK cost-of-living squeeze because they increase borrowing repayments, thereby cutting disposable incomes and crimping economic activity.

The BoE began a series of rate hikes in late 2021 to combat inflation, which rose after countries emerged from Covid lockdowns and accelerated after the invasion of Ukraine by key oil and gas producer Russia.

 

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China’s economy grew less than expected in second quarter: official data

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China’s economy grew 4.7 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2024, official data showed Monday, less than analysts had expected.

“By quarter, the GDP for the first quarter increased by 5.3 percent year on year and for the second quarter 4.7 percent,” Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

The figures were much lower than the 5.1 percent predicted by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Retail sales — a key gauge of consumption — also slowed to just two percent in June, the NBS said, down from 3.7 percent in May.

The world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a real estate debt crisis, weakening consumption, an ageing population and trade tensions with Western rivals.

Top officials are meeting in Beijing on Monday for a key plenum, with all eyes on how they might kickstart lacklustre growth.

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Concerns Mount Over Revenue Loss as South Asia’s Largest Land Port Curtails Operations

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Bangladeshi officials are grappling with fears of revenue loss as the largest land port in South Asia, situated along the India-Bangladesh border, has ceased operations for 10 hours each day since July 11.

The Petrapole Land Port in India, crucial for trade between the two nations, has been shutting down from 6 PM to 8 AM daily, without providing any explanation for the closure, according to officials from the Benapole Land Authority in Bangladesh. This unexpected halt has left Bangladeshi authorities and traders in a state of uncertainty, as there is no indication of when the operations might resume to normalcy.

Industry insiders warn that this disruption could lead to a significant revenue shortfall at Benapole port due to decreased imports, adversely affecting Bangladeshi importers with delayed product deliveries.

Rezaul Karim, Director of Traffic at Benapole Land Port Authority, emphasized that while Benapole has been maintaining 24-hour operations, Petrapole’s recent restrictions are hindering cargo truck movements after evening.

“We have inquired with the Petrapole port authority about the reasons for halting trade services after evening. They responded that the matter is under discussion with relevant authorities,” Karim said.

Sultan Mahmud Bipul, Secretary of Benapole C&F Agent Association International Checkpost Affairs, highlighted the fiscal implications of this disruption. “Benapole port has set a revenue target of Tk6,705 crore from imported goods for the fiscal year 2024-25. If the 24-hour import facility remains discontinued, it will severely impact our revenue targets,” he noted.

Ziaur Rahman, General Secretary of Benapole Landport Importers and Exporters Association, pointed out the severe impact on trade, particularly with perishable goods. “Traders dealing with perishable food products are incurring the biggest losses due to this halt. The inability of goods trucks to enter after evening will widen the trade deficit,” Rahman remarked.

As the situation unfolds, the Benapole Land Port Authority and associated trade bodies continue to seek clarity and resolution from their Indian counterparts to mitigate the economic repercussions of this operational disruption.

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