Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said the government will take necessary initiative to sign free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam and other potential countries.
He also said Bangladesh is moving faster in terms of trade and commerce comparing to other Saarc and South Asian countries.
The Commerce Minister made the remarks while officially inaugurating president's executive floor of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) on the occasion of celebrating 60 years of DCCI at its own building in Motijheel.
Tofail said recently the government has raised the minimum monthly wage for the garment workers to Tk. 8,000 from the existing Tk 5,300 with effect from December next.
On this issue, the Minister told the businessmen not to be worried about it as the government is thinking to reduce cost of doing business by slashing source tax and taking other initiatives.
He said for doing business in congenial atmosphere is a must and now is the best time to invest more in industries.
DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said that due to having long term policy planning our economy is experiencing a developing trend which is a good sign for attracting foreign direct investment.
He said DCCI is going to hold an international conference titled "Destination Bangladesh" in the next month to expose Bangladesh's strength of attracting investments.
He also said that in order to attract investment in the country we have to invest in infrastructure development.
DCCI former Presidents Rashed Maksud Khan, Matiur Rahman, ASM Quasem, Aftabul Islam, Asif Ibrahim, Senior Vice President Kamrul Islam, FCA, Directors Engr. Akber Hakim, Hossain A Sikder, Imran Ahmed, Mohammad Basiruddin, Salim Akhter Khan, SM Zillur Rahman, former Senior Vice Presidents and former vice presidents were also present.
Washington, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — U.S. and Canadian negotiators — facing a deadline at the end of the month — will extend until at least Thursday their negotiations to keep Canada in a North American trade bloc.
After her second meeting of the day with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland told reporters they plan to keep talking on Thursday.
"Our officials now have more work to do and will continue to work this evening. Ambassador Lighthizer and I agreed to meet again tomorrow," she said Wednesday evening.
President Donald Trump began negotiations last year to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
The U.S. and Mexico reached a preliminary deal last month designed in part to shift more auto production to the United States. But Canada wasn't part of that agreement. Freeland is trying to get America's No. 2 trading partner back into the trade bloc.
The countries are under pressure to reach a deal by the end of the month when Lighthizer must make public a copy of the full text of the agreement with Mexico. Until then, he has wriggle room to reinstate Canada.
Among other things, the negotiators are battling over Canada's high dairy tariffs and policies meant to keep the country's culture from being overwhelmed by U.S. movies and television. Canada also wants to keep a dispute-resolution process that was part of NAFTA; the Trump administration wants U.S. courts to have jurisdiction.
Trump considers NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, a job-killing disaster for the United States. The agreement tore down most trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, leading to a surge in trade, but it encouraged U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to move south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labor.
Trump has said he wants to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA — with or without Canada. It is unclear, however, whether Trump has authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico, and some lawmakers say they won't go along with a deal that leaves Canada out.
But others are also turning up the heat on Canada.
"Members are concerned that Canada does not seem to be ready or willing to make the concessions that are necessary for a fair and high-standard agreement," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said in a statement this week. "While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement."
In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian negotiators would continue to defend the country's agricultural policies.
"Our team is down in Washington right now digging in," he said. "We've been very clear that we're interested in what could be a good deal for Canada, but we're going to need to see a certain amount of movement in order to get there."
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited (AIBL) has opened its 164th Agent Banking outlet at Krishnanagar Bazar of Nabinagar upazila in Brahmanbaria district recently.
AIBL Executive Vice-president and Head of Agent Banking Division Abed Ahmed Khan inaugurated the outlet as the chief guest, said a press release on Wednesday.
Among others, AIBL Nabinagar branch Manager Md Abdul Matin Patwary and Krishnanagar union parishad Chairman Md Zillur Rahman were present at the inauguration ceremony with agent of the outlet Md Mozammel Haque in the chair.
From the Agent Banking outlet, customers can open accounts, deposit and withdraw money, collect remittance, check account balance, transfer funds, apply for investment, collect sanctions, pay utility bills, pay installments and do all other banking activities more easily.
Dhaka, Sep 19 (UNB) - The local electronics giant Walton started the 3rd season of its digital campaign across the country from the first day of the current month witnessing huge customers’ responses towards the registration of the purchased appliances during the campaign’s previous two seasons of this year.
Under the campaign’s third season, customers of Walton fridges, LED televisions and air conditioners will get brand new cars, motorbikes, various sorts of electronics and electrical appliances or sure cash backs through registering the newly purchased appliances from any Walton Plaza or distributor outlet across the country.
Customers enjoyed the same offers during the campaign’s Season-2.
To accelerate the initiative of building customers database for delivering online based swift and best after sales service to the users, Walton is conducting ‘Digital Campaign’ across the country. Prior to Season-3, this year Walton conducted the campaign’s Season 1 from April 1 to June 30 and the Season-2 from July 1 to August 30.
During the Season-2, total of five customers across the country received new cars through purchasing and registering Walton brand fridges. They are: a member of Bangladesh Police at Dhaka Aradhan Chandra Shaha, a housewife of Chattagram District Shima Shill, a farmer of Rangpur District Titu Miah, a shopkeeper of Rangunia in Chattagram Tishu Das and a farmer Narsingdi’s farmer Abu Taher. In addition, thousands of customers got free products and sure cash backs.
Under the offers of Season-1, Tanjin Sultana Nipu from Shariatpur District, Babul Khan from Gazipur District, Mahmudul Hasan from Dinajpur District and Md Jahurul Islam from Gaibandha District got free air tickets of America-Dhaka-America and Russia-Dhaka-Russia from the purchase of Walton products.
Rakibul Hossain, convener of Walton Digital Campaign, said, the previous two seasons of the digital campaign received sound customers’ response towards the registration of purchased appliances. As a result, the process of building strong database has been accelerated, he added.
To sustain the buyers’ eagerness in registering their purchased products, Walton started the campaign’s third season, he noted and expected that the third season will also be successful like the campaign’s previous two seasons.
Ariful Ambia, deputy executive director of Walton Group, said details of the customers and their purchased products including the name of customer, contact number and the model number of the product are being stored on a server through the product’s registration.
As a result, he said the customers can seek post sales services browsing the Walton developed web page http://support.waltonbd.com and they can see the status of the product online.
Beijing, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — China unveiled a slew of changes under mounting pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump over technology.
Beijing promised to cut tariffs, open its auto industry and buy American exports. But none of that was what Trump wanted: An end to development policies Washington says are based on theft of know-how and might erode U.S. industrial leadership.
Exporters scrambled to replace lost orders after Trump pulled the trigger in July with his first round of tariff hikes on $50 billion of Chinese imports. Waves of job losses loom over factory towns. So far, however, Chinese leaders express confidence in their $12 trillion-a-year economy and are refusing to budge on tactics they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.
The communist leadership appears no more likely to back down after Trump escalated their dispute Monday by approving penalties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods, according to economists, political analysts and business groups.
"Contrary to views in Washington, China can — and will — dig its heels in," said the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, William Zarit, in a statement. "We are not optimistic about the prospect for a resolution in the short term."
Trump's complaints strike at the heart of the Communist Party's view of itself as economic development leader — a venture capital investor on a national scale, boldly creating new industries.
That role has gained prominence since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, despite the party's 2013 pledge to give market forces a "decisive role" in the state-dominated economy.
Reform advocates complain state-owned companies that dominate banking, energy and other industries are getting bigger. They say that ignores the lessons of three decades of market-style changes that propelled China's economic boom.
Beijing is still figuring out what Washington wants, said Citigroup economist Li-Gang Liu.
"The bottom line from the U.S. side is not clear," Liu said in an email. "Without clarity as to what President Trump wants from the Chinese exactly, it is difficult to see any progress ahead."
The ruling party sees initiatives including "Made in China 2025," which calls for state-led creation of global champions in robotics, electric cars and other fields, as essential for raising incomes for China's poor majority and restoring the country to its historic status as a technology and cultural leader.
Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain that explicitly nationalistic goals of creating Chinese global brands and promise subsidies to local competitors violate Beijing's promises to treat companies equally. American officials also say Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
While rebuffing U.S. pressure, Beijing has unveiled other changes long sought by its trading partners.
The government announced in April it would allow full ownership of electric car manufacturers beginning this year and lift all ownership caps in the industry by 2020. Beijing agreed to join the European Union in proposing reforms of the World Trade Organization, which Washington complains is antiquated and unable to cope with Chinese-style challenges.
Chinese leaders appear to be wrestling with how to present their plans in a way that causes less foreign opposition, said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. He said there was "considerable debate" about how to handle Washington at the leaders' annual summer retreat at the seaside resort of Beidaihe.
"I do think there is some internal debate about, Did we handle this right? Is there some way we can acknowledge to the U.S. side and others that we recognize there are changes we need to make?" said Haenle. But doing that without looking like Chinese leaders are "caving in to the United States will be a difficult endeavor to pull off."
Chinese leaders might have hoped cooperating on North Korea would win over Trump. But he went ahead with tariff hikes even after Beijing joined the "maximum pressure" campaign on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons and Xi skipped the regime's 70th anniversary festivities this month.
"I don't think they have any great hopes that Trump is going to be any easier on them," said Haenle.
Beijing's conviction that it needs to accelerate technology development was reinforced by this year's near-death of ZTE Corp., one of China's biggest tech companies, said Citigroup's Liu.
ZTE announced it might shut down after Washington imposed a seven-year ban on sales of U.S. components and technology to the state-owned manufacturer of telecoms equipment, citing its exports to North Korea and Iran. To regain access, ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company.
Chinese leaders realized "they don't have core technology," said Liu. "Made in China 2025" has "become more important than before and will be accelerated."
Some Chinese reform advocates see a possible way out: Restructure "Made in China 2025" and other initiatives to make them more market-oriented and strip out subsidies that irk Washington and other governments. They say that would pay dividends for China by encouraging creativity and efficiency through competition.
"That would be nothing more than promising further opening and reform. Government interference in business would be corrected," said Hu Xingdou, an economist in Beijing. "These are all good for the Chinese people."
Beijing might hope Trump will "move to a more conciliatory position," especially if his Republican Party suffers setbacks in November elections, said Haenle. But he said they doubt they know enough about American politics to try to influence the outcome by offering concessions.
The impact on China has been smaller than some American leaders hoped.
Monday's latest tariff hike might trim China's economic growth by 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points over the next year, Lillian Li of Moody's rating agency said in a report. But government stimulus spending and easier credit should offset that, leaving China's growth forecast unchanged at 6.6 percent this year and 6.4 percent in 2019, she said.
Citigroup estimates the first U.S. tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods will wipe out about 881,000 industrial jobs. That could rise to 3.5 million additional lost jobs over three to five years if the tariffs on $200 billion of imports increase to 25 percent, it said.
The dispute has a silver lining for some Chinese companies as some local governments act on longstanding complaints by cutting taxes and fees and simplifying bureaucracy.
Guangdong province, an export center adjacent to Hong Kong, announced changes on Sept. 10 that it said would cut costs for businesses there by 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) in 2018-20.
"We believe Chinese industries will come out of the trade war stronger than before," said Citigroup's Liu.