Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Monday addressed China as the biggest partner of Bangladesh in trade and commerce and infrastructure development. He made the remark while addressing the launching ceremony of Chinese Enterprises Association of Bangladesh (CEAB) at a city hotel on Monday.

Terming China as ‘a great partner of Bangladesh’, the minister said, “Bangladesh is going to be the 2nd largest investment partner of China after India. Earlier, Pakistan was the 2nd and Bangladesh was the third. China has invested one billion dollar in BD. I want and hope, not one or two billon, Chinese investment will be 10 billion dollar by 2021. I am expecting a lot of investment to come in Bangladesh.”

He also said, “There is a big trade gap between Bangladesh and China still prevails. We are looking for more investment. Different countries are expressing their interest to invest in Bangladesh. Therefore, I hope more Chinese company will take the opportunity to invest in this beautiful country.”

Informing that Chinese Enterprise Association in Bangladesh has recently got the approval from Commerce Ministry, he hoped that the approval will bring fruitful results in the long run. At the event, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said, “I would like to express my warm congratulations to the Government of Bangladesh on official registration of CEAB, which is officially being launched today (Monday). This registration will unite the Chinese enterprises, promote the cooperation between China-Bangladesh, solve mediate disputes, strengthen connects with Bangladeshi business and industrial communities and continuously enhance the association’s unity and influence to make greater contributions in the development of China-Bangladesh economic and trade.”

The ambassador said, “China and Bangladesh have been friends for generations. In recent years, under the joint planning and guidance of the leaders of the two countries, bilateral economic and trade relations have continued to deepen and great progress has been made in investment, trade and infrastructure construction. Since 2013, the bilateral trade volume between China and Bangladesh has been maintained at a level of over 10 billion US dollars. In the past two years, China’s investment in Bangladesh has been in an upsurge. The total value of the projects between China and Bangladesh has reached highest level in history.”

He also said, “The official inauguration of the association is another landmark in our business cooperation. I believe that both the Chinese and Bangladeshi governments will, as always, attach importance to the important platform role of the Chinese Enterprise Association in the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.”

Lin Weiqiang, President of Chinese Enterprises Association of Bangladesh (CEAB), said, “China Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to invest in Bangladesh. Chinese companies will continue to invest in Bangladesh as this country is getting popularity as a good investment zone. We want to promote our belt and road initiative in this country. We want to fulfil the Chinese dream and Bangladesh’s dream of Sonar Bangla.”

“Zuhang Lifeng, President of Overseas Chinese Association of Bangladesh and Honorary President of CEAB, said, “The more Chinese Companies enter Bangladesh, the more investment will come in Bangladesh. Chinese people in Bangladesh play an important role in economic development of Bangladesh. We want a greater collaboration on the part of both the countries. Our aim is to promote Belt and road initiative, reinforce bilateral relation and enhance coordination between China and Bangladesh government.”

Sheikh Fazle Fahim, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, said, “More than 400 companies of China are continuing their operation in Bangladesh. We convey our gratitude to CEAB for amplifying the trade and commerce.” Paban Chowdhury, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority, said, “We have a long history of partnership in trade and commerce with China. But, there is a large trade gap between the two countries. Bangladesh imported nearly 15 billion dollar from China whereas the export was only 0.8 billon dollar. We must have to balance this gap.

He also said, “Prime Minister went to China in June 2014 and she promised to give one of our economic zones to China. We have already given an economic zone at Anwara in Chattahram. Now, I have received a letter from Chinese ambassador for 2nd economic zone in Bangladesh. BEZA keeps its door open for China.”