China has suggested Bangladesh to set up a special high-level committee under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for better coordination and facilitation of the various Chinese proposed projects in Bangladesh to support the country's development needs.
"?some very important projects for our further cooperation are being negotiated positively at the moment," said a letter sent to the PMO of Bangladesh by the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka last month, of which a copy has been obtained by UNB.
The projects are railway projects including single-line dual-gauge railway tracks from Dohazari to Cox's Bazar via Ramu, and from Ramu to Gundum near the Myanmar boarder; Dhaka-Chittagong railway chord line project; Padma rail link from Dhaka to Jessore; multi-lane road tunnel under the River Karnaphuli; Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone in Chittagong area; digital connectivity for Digital Bangladesh; expansion and strengthening of power system network under DPDC area; Payra sea port project; Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway; and Unit-2 of eastern refinery and single point mooring project.
The Chinese embassy also wrote that some other projects were also in the pipeline.
The letter said the year 2015 will witness the 40th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries.
It mentioned that the implementation of these projects will surely benefit the social and economic development of Bangladesh and further strengthen the functional cooperation between China and Bangladesh, in the infrastructure sector.
"For better coordination and facilitation of these projects, it would be meaningful if a special high-level committee could be set up under the PMO of Bangladesh," the Chinese embassy suggested.
The letter said that with joint efforts of both sides, especially under the PMO's full support, the bilateral trade and economic cooperation has achieved great development and success in the past consecutive years.
The Chinese embassy recently informed the PMO that the list of the development projects submitted to Beijing, involving over US$8.69 billion, for inclusion in China's 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), would be considered.
"The embassy of China in Bangladesh avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the PMO of Bangladesh the assurance of its highest consideration," the embassy wrote.
According to the letter, the Chinese side has been negotiating positively for further cooperation, at this moment.
The Economic Relations Division (ERD) has been assigned to complete the negotiations regarding the Chinese offer.
ERD officials said the Chinese were yet to decide whether the financial assistance will be in the form of soft loan or buyer's credit.
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's six-day visit to China in June last year, Bangladesh and China inked five deals and two agreements -- one memorandum of understanding (MoU) and two exchange of letters (EoLs) --to enhance bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, power generation, and climate change.
Besides, during the bilateral discussions, Sheikh Hasina sought Chinese government's support for implementing five proposed projects.
The proposed projects are National ICT Infra-Network for Bangladesh Government (Phase-III); construction of Rajshahi Wasa Surface Water Treatment Plant; Construction of Second Railway-cum-Road Bridge over River Kharnaphuli at Kalurhgat point near the existing railway bridge; construction of a new Dual Gauge Railway Line from Chittagong to Cox's Bazar via Ramu and Ramu to Gundum near Myanmar border.
Besides, Sheikh Hasina had sought duty-free access of more Bangladeshi products to the Chinese market, and increased investment by Chinese entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.
She said a separate economic and industrial zone for Chinese investors in Chittagong was under her government's consideration. ?UNB