Bangladesh and China have historic and cultural ties spanning centuries. China’s recognition of Bangladesh in 1975 marked the beginning of diplomatic relationships between the two countries. The declaration of “Bangladesh China Friendship Year” in 2005 showcased the diplomatic and friendly relations. A significant example of China’s commitment is the Bangabandhu International Conference Center, a state of art exhibition venue,, which was gifted to Bangladesh, exemplifying China’s enduring friendship. China and Bangladesh share a multifaceted relationship encompassing various key activities and projects. Notably, the establishment of the “Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center” in Dhaka underscores the commitment to fostering cultural ties and people-to-people connections
China’s engagement in Bangladesh’s economy is evident through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2022, Bangladesh received a net FDI inflow of 186.61 million USD, contributing 5.36% to the total FDI inflow for the year. The cumulative FDI stock by the end of December 2022 amounted to USD1.3 billion, reflecting China’s sustained interest in Bangladesh’s economic growth. The top 3 sectors in terms of Gross FDI Inflow from China were Textile & weaving (149.75 MN USD), power (132.62 MN USD), and Leather products (10.51 MN USD). According to economists, the US-China trade conflicts are pushing Chinese manufacturers to shift production facilities to alternative locations which might further boost investments. In 2023, China invested nearly $800 million in Bangladesh. This included a $500 million Plasma Centre in Dhaka by Sinovac Biotech Ltd., luxury garment manufacturing investments by SSH and Kaixi, and a proposed $200 million project by Xinyi Glass to build Bangladesh’s largest glass factory.
China has been the largest recipient of import payments from Bangladesh for FY 21-22, amounting to around 19.3 billion USD, highlighting the bilateral trade volume. Import of Nuclear Equipment takes up the largest volume of import payments as Bangladesh is in the process of setting up its maiden nuclear power plant. Other noteworthy imports include Cotton and Electrical Equipment.
China-Bangladesh trade payments are lopsided with imports from China significantly higher than exports, Total export receipts during July ‘22 to June ‘23 amounted to 677 million USD. The main exported commodities from Bangladesh to China were Readymade Garments, Textile & Weaving, Raw Hide & Leather, and Cotton.
The trade relationship between China and Bangladesh has been significantly bolstered by agreements and initiatives. The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), signed by China in 2001, plays a pivotal role in facilitating bilateral trade. Under this agreement, tariff barriers for 84 Bangladeshi products, including textiles and jute, were removed, thereby promoting intra-regional trade.
More recently, the notice of the Tariff Commission of the State Council of China on 16 June 2020, applied zero-tariff rate to 8,256 products originating from Bangladesh among the total 8,549 products recognized in the Chinese tariff-line; a crucial step that enhances Bangladesh’s market access.
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