China encourages construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative to comply with national laws: Ambassador

China encourages the construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative to comply with national laws, the ambassador in Dhaka has said.

Zhang Zuo also stressed regulating “business behaviour in investment and management, so as to always ensure legal and compliant operations”.

He was speaking at a dialogue on ‘Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future’ in Dhaka organised by the Cosmos Foundation.

He said the development of China-Bangladesh relations faces “unprecedented opportunities” for cooperation based on the current situation and looking into the future.

Chinese belt and road initiative includes over 70 countries from South-East Asia to Eastern Europe and Africa, that account for half the world’s population and a quarter of global GDP.

Bangladesh also joined this flagship multibillion dollar initiative of the Chinese President Xi Jinping. All aspects of Chinese engagement abroad is described through this initiative.

“We should strengthen communications, improve cooperation mechanisms, promote the security of projects under the Belt and Road initiative,” the ambassador said.

Zuo also placed five suggestions for deepening the Bangladesh-China ‘strategic partnership’ – deepen strategic mutual trust, economic integration, and innovation and interaction, have stronger cooperation on experience sharing on security, and deepen cultural and people’s connectivity.

“We will tighten the bonds of cultural communications, jointly promote exchanges in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, education, and health, and carry out fruitful assistance programs for people’s livelihood centred around the construction of the Belt and Road,” he said.

With the aim to establish people-to-people connectivity, the ambassador said both countries should continue to deepen cooperation in the fields of poverty reduction, local development, cities, and rural governance, and strengthen collaborations in tourism, archaeology, heritage protection, and cultural and creative industries.

“We should actively expand cooperation in new media, news, film and television, tell more exciting and touching stories, and build up public support for the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.”

The ambassador said in recent years, the development of China Bangladesh relations has been promoted onto the fast track.

During the “successful” state visit of president Xi Jingping to Bangladesh in October 2016, the bilateral relationship was elevated to ‘strategic partnership of cooperation’, which started a new chapter in China-Bangladesh relations.

According to Chinese statistics, in 2017, the bilateral trade value reached $16 billion, 5.8 percent higher than last year, with China remaining the number one trade partner to Bangladesh.

The engineering contracts signed between Bangladesh and Chinese companies reached 10.4 billion dollars, second in the South Asian region.

In the first nine months of this year, the bilateral trade value stands at $13.9 billion, with a growth rate of 19.3 percent year on year.

The contracts signed are worth $3.84 billion, number one in South Asia and number four globally, the ambassador said.

Chinese FDI in non-financial sector stands at $120 million, more than doubled compared to last year.

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