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13 February, 2020 12:55:18 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 February, 2020 04:16:03 PM

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It’s better not to leave Wuhan for now

Chinese envoy in Dhaka says about Bangladeshi students
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka
It’s better not to leave Wuhan for now
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming speaks at a press conference jointly organised by Chinese Embassy in Dhaka and Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the National Press Club in the capital yesterday. PBA Photo

Chinese embassy in Dhaka has said that the Bangladeshi students, who are staying in Hubei of China, will be better off as long as they stay there instead of coming back home since, what he said, they are being properly taken care of. Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming came up with the statement yesterday in reply to questions during a press conference, jointly organised by the Chinese Embassy and the Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), on the latest developments with regard to coronavirus outbreak.

According to him, “The 172 students, who are staying in Hubei – not Wuhan, are being properly taken care of. It’s not necessary to bring them back home. If they are brought back, there might have risk of spreading virus.” He also brushed aside the allegation that the Bangladeshi students were not getting food or water. “It’s not true. The Chinese government is offering everything needed there for them.” Li Jiming also said the outbreak of Coronavirus would not affect the general picture of importing materials from China to Bangladesh.

He also said that it would be a stupid decision for Bangladesh to switch to other countries for importing materials due to the virus outbreak. Li, however, admitted that there had been slight decrease in number of shipments in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly virus. “This is perhaps the biggest concern among different business communities here in Dhaka. If you are thinking of shifting your supply chains from China to somewhere, it would be a stupid decision,” Li Jiming said in reply to a query. “It’s true that there are slight fall in shipments from China following the virus outbreak. Besides, the Chinese people are on vacation for one/two weeks or so. As a result, it has exerted an impact on trade and logistics as well. But Chinese people are getting back to business now,” he added.

“Wuhan is not the major source of importing garment and textile materials here. More than 70 materials of textile and readymade garment items come to Bangladesh from other areas of China. So, the general picture of trade and business won’t be affected,” said the ambassador.

In reply to another query as to whether the mega projects in Bangladesh would be affected due to longer absence of Chinese people engaged in such projects, Li said, “The number of people staying in China but yet to return to Dhaka is very insignificant. But those who are back are in quarantine for some days. Even if the quarantine period becomes 45 days, it is manageable and won’t affect the mega project.” “But the imposition of restrictions on the import of Chinese goods won’t be good. So far as I know, Coronavirus does not transmit through goods. Rather, it transmits through human body. So, any restriction on importing Chinese goods is not based on scientific evidence. Bangladesh is a wise and rational country. Otherwise, it might have some problems for the mega projects here,” he observed.

Li also said, “Coronavirus is a common enemy for the entire world. This virus has no passport like Ebola, SARS and AIDS. The international community should come forward and support China to control it.” According to him, “China has full confidence, capacity and determination to win the battle against this deadly virus. China is highly committed in addressing the situation as the government has taken various comprehensive measures with regard to multi-prong prevention systems.”

The disease is preventable and curable, he noted. In his speech, the ambassador also said, “Media should play its responsible role while doing reports. Media can present accurate, scientific and rational information to general people.” On the other hand, BCCI President Gazi Golam Murtoza said, “It’s true that Coronavirus has a big impact on trade with China since the outbreak of the virus in January. But we hope that the country will be able to fill up the gap in the coming days through its balance of trade.” He also said, “The Coronavirus has been detected in Hubei and some other adjacent provinces of China. The provinces which have direct trade links with Bangladesh are out of the impact of the virus. As a result, there is no bigger impact on the import of goods from there.”

Quoting the Commerce Ministry statistics, he said, “Over the last one decade, China has had the highest investment in Bangladesh amounting to around $18 billion dollars. As per Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, the total import from China in the fiscal year 2018-19 was $1,364 billion dollars, which was 26.1 per cent of the total import during the year.”

On the other hand, he said, Bangladesh exports jute and readymade garment items. Bangladesh exported $83.12 crore dollars in 2018-19 fiscal year, which was 2.05 per cent of the total export in the same year. He added, “Bangladesh’s trade relations with China are so deep that any significant development there would obviously affect the trade and commerce here. Coronavirus is not an exception. But the good news is that there is no big impact so far on imports and exports.”

He also claimed that there’s no bigger impact right now with regard to import and export of different products, including the raw materials of RMG as the Bangladeshi businessmen already completed their import of raw materials and necessary tools for industries. “There is no reason behind the shortage of the supply of products in Bangladesh market so far due to the virus outbreak. What situation will arise if the problem lingers in China is something to be seen in future,” he added.

He also said that Bangladesh government would take appropriate decision in time with regard to the trade and commerce issues between the two countries after reviewing the situation arising in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

“We think, effective and prudent steps by the government can address any problem this economy faces,” he added.

He said Coronavirus is not a problem of any single country, rather it’s a global problem now. “All countries should play responsible role to save people of the world, including those in China. We hope the Coronavirus outbreak will be checked within a few days,” he said.

JGD

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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