The business prospect of the Sino-Bangla relationship is greater than the political affairs between Dhaka and Beijing, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
"Bangladesh largely depends on China for the raw materials and accessories of readymade garments. Besides, China has a crucial role in Bangladesh's development. Most of the ongoing mega-projects in Bangladesh also demonstrate Chinese involvement with them," the minister told an event in Dhaka Sunday.
As the chief guest of the "Best Reporting Award on Bilateral Relationship between Bangladesh and China", Tipu Munshi said, "Beijing is the biggest supplier for Bangladesh as most of the raw materials that Dhaka imports come from China. In early 2020 when imports from China stopped due to the pandemic, we were very worried."
The commerce minister said he was particularly worried about the readymade garment export. "We were also concerned over paused accessories imports from China though Bangladesh has achieved some success in making those at home."
"Chinese supply is very important for Bangladeshi garments. It is not just now, rather since 1985 when I started the apparel business," he added.
Tipu Munshi said global politics means business politics, and business is now at the crux of diplomacy around the globe.
"The whole world is focusing on business. Considering the global concept of financial or business relations, 50% of it [global business relations] is now China-centric," said the commerce minister.
Li Jiming, Chinese ambassador to Dhaka, said the new industrial revolution and the Covid pandemic have opened up new opportunities for boosting bilateral trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and China.
"I am sure that Bangladesh will become a developing country by 2026 and the 35th largest economy in the world by 2030," said the ambassador.
Quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping as he told the 76th session of the UN general assembly, the ambassador said China attaches great importance to global development through social development and peace. China wants human welfare and development that does not leave anyone behind.
"I am hopeful that Bangladesh will actively support China's global development initiative," said Li Jiming.
He said China has continued the reform of its economy, and Bangladesh is an important partner in South Asia for China's Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing has become Dhaka's largest trade partner.
BCCCI President Gazi Golam Murtoza said China has provided Bangladesh with duty-free access to the Chinese market, and we have to take advantage of this.
He hoped that China's cooperation in developing Bangladesh's infrastructure and building heavy industries would increase in future.
The event was jointly organised by the Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCCI) and the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF).
ERF President Sharmin Rinvi, General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam, BCCCI Secretary-General Shahjahan Mridha and Joint Secretary General Al Mamun Mridha spoke on the occasion.