12/29/2014, 00.00
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China proposes free trade agreement to Bangladesh

The goal is to improve road and rail connections, especially those through Myanmar. Dhaka relaunches with a proposal for improved connectivity through Chittagong-Cox's Bazar-Myanmar-Kunming.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China has proposed the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh to promote trade between the two countries and reduce the trade gap. The offer was made yesterday during bilateral talks held by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, AH Mahmood Ali (Dhaka) and Wang Yi (Beijing). The Bangladeshi delegation consisted of 19 members, the Chinese one of 13.

During the talks the two delegations discussed a wide range of issues, including the expansion of bilateral trade and business issues, especially regarding road and railway links and greater cooperation in the energy and industrial sectors.

Bangladesh's Foreign Minister, M. Shahidul Haque, said that for the moment his government "is analyzing the proposal." He added: "I think there will be a solid decision next year on the matter and I hope it will take off".

Bangladesh has proposed a new road and railway line connecting Chittagong-Cox's Bazar-Myanmar-Kunming. It would start from Chittagong (in the South of the country), it would run through Cox's Bazar (in Bangladesh), cross Myanmar and arrive in Kunming. Beijing has reportedly reacted "positively" to the project.

China has reiterated its interest in the construction of a deep-sea port but Bangladesh is still "considering the project which is undergoing evaluation."


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