Dhaka and Beijing will sign an MoU on the establishment of an investment cooperation working group to boost investment ties between Bangladesh and China. The signing will take place during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s July 1-5 visit to China, officials in Dhaka said.
The platform will work to promote bilateral economic and trade relations, and improve the investment cooperation mechanism within the framework of Bangladesh-China economic and trade commission.
The deal is going to be inked to implement the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Strengthening Investment and Production Capacity Cooperation, signed in October 2016 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh.
According to that MoU, 27 projects, including 26 government-to-government and a private sector schemes, are expected to be implemented at a cost of $20 billion during 2016-20.
China had committed $20 billion in soft loan to Bangladesh for the projects, but it has disbursed only around $600 million until last month.
Bangladeshi officials said they have prepared preliminary development project plans (PDPP) for 22 projects. After completing feasibility studies on those projects and receiving approval from the Planning Commission, the PDPPs will be sent to China. Once the plans are approved by China, Bangladesh will send loan applications to the country. The total process takes quite a long time.
Deals aimed at financing 27 projects were struck in October 2016, but only five loan agreements involving $4.5 billion have been signed since then.
Against this backdrop, Dhaka wants Beijing to expedite project evaluation and approval so that it can access the funds quickly to implement the projects.
The proposed investment cooperation working group will exchange information on laws, regulation, policies, and investment.
It will also make recommendations to both the governments on promoting bilateral investment and economic cooperation and implementation of bilateral government assistance projects.