Dhaka, Apr 19 (UNB) - US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has met Chittagong Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz and toured the seaport facilities through which over 90 percent of Bangladesh’s trade flows.
They discussed the important role US private business investment could play in port upgrades and other construction projects.
The US envoy visited Chattogram on April 16-19 to promote bilateral trade and investment, support the growing military partnership between the United States and Bangladesh, and bolster people-to-people ties, said the US Embassy in Dhaka on Friday.
Ambassador Miller visited US private energy company Excelerate, whose Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) in the Bay of Bengal is supplying natural gas used to produce power for Chattogram’s six million residents and its entire industrial area.
The FSRU has a 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day regasification capacity, increasing Bangladesh’s ability to reliably use its domestic natural gas reserves.
Ambassador Miller met business leaders to learn more about local industries that contribute to the economic development of both the Bangladeshi and US economies.
He also visited a ship-breaking yard and a steel melting and re-rolling facility.
Miller reiterated the importance of worker rights and safety, and called on business leaders to protect workers and the environment and put an end to child labor.
In support of growing US-Bangladesh military ties, Ambassador Miller gave remarks at the closing ceremony of a US-Bangladesh Special Warfare Diving and Salvage (SWADS) exercise.
The exercise included modules on human rights, first aid, and mission planning.
The US envoy laid a wreath and planted a tree to honour Seaman Mohammad Nurul Islam who was killed during a UN Peacekeeping Operation (PKO) in 2005.
He paid his respects to the 146 Bangladeshis who have lost their lives in PKOs, and expressed his appreciation for Bangladesh’s support of international peace and security as the second largest troop-contributing country in the world.
Miller also visited the American Corner at Chattogram Independent University (CIU), where he met two-time Fulbright Fellow and CIU Vice-chancellor Dr Mahfuzul Hoque Chowdhury and engaged with Bangladeshis attending an event on autism awareness, in commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day.
He highlighted the opportunities of studying in the United States as well as the EducationUSA information and services offered at the Corner.
He later met with the founder and the Vice Chancellor of the Asian University for Women to express his support for their dedication to women’s education and leadership development including Rohingya students.
The US Ambassador visited the Chattogram War Cemetery where he laid a wreath at the grave of American pilot William B Rice, who lost his life as a member of the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
He also laid a wreath at the Cross of Remembrance in honour of the sacrifices of all who died in the conflict.
Dhaka, Apr 19 (UNB) - A seminar on the business potentials of Bangladesh was held at the conference hall of Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Friday under the auspices of Embassy of Bangladesh in Japan.
Various aspects of doing business and investment opportunities in Bangladesh were discussed in the seminar. Recent economic development trend of Bangladesh under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was lauded at the event.
More than one hundred participants including a visiting Bangladeshi business delegation attended the seminar. Naonori Tsuchiya, the Chairman of Fukuoka Foreign Trade Association (FFTA) delivered the welcome speech at the program. The Keynote Presentation was made by Mohammad Hasan Arif, Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Bangladesh on the potentiality of Bangladeshi business and investment opportunities.
Daisuke Arai, country representative of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Dhaka, explained the opportunities and challenges for Japanese investors and businessmen in Bangladesh, said a press release of Embassy of Bangladesh in Tokyo of Japan.
He also described the facilities that Bangladesh government is offering to the investors. Deputy Director General of South Asia Department of JICA, Teruyuki Ito highlighted the Bangladesh’s economy and updated about JICA’s efforts in the development process of Bangladesh.
Besides, Ashir Ahmed, Associate Professor of Kyushu University lectured on the ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Japanese Organisations in Bangladesh’. Hidefumi Ikemoto of Towa Corporation, a Japanese company operating in Bangladesh shared their experiences of managing business in Bangladesh.
The seminar was co-organised by JETRO Fukuoka, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Fukuoka One Stop Kyougikai, FFTA, Fukuoka Asia Business Center, Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan and was supported by JICA, Kyushu Economic Federation, and The Japan Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (JBCCEC).
A video documentary was screened on the economic development of Bangladesh. The event ended with the question-answer and business networking session.
Dhaka, Apr 18 (UNB) - Bangladesh is an important market for trade finance within Asia and the country has become one of Asia’s most remarkable success stories recently, said president of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Bangladesh, Mahbubur Rahman.
Mahbubur Rahman came up with the remarks at the closing ceremony of ICC Workshop on Trade Finance and Best Practices in Demand Guarantees organised by ICC Bangladesh at a city hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.
He cautioned that with the growing business complexities, technological changes, market expectations and financial crimes, trade services are becoming increasingly challenging for banks and financial institutions of our country, similar to the other trading nations. Time has come to identify the exposure of banks on international bank guarantees; and it seems crucial now to formulate guideline/sets of rules for such guarantees and adopt international rules associated with bank guarantees and standby LCs, he mentioned.
Workshop Resource Person Dr Andrea Hauptmann, Senior Global Consultant on Trade Finance, Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Austria and ICCB Secretary General Ataur Rahman also spoke on the occasion, said a press release on Thursday.
A workshop on the same topic held in Chittagong on 16 April. A total of 123 participants from banks, BIBM & Law Farm in Dhaka and 70 participants from banks in Chittagong attended the workshop.
Shanghai, Apr 17 (AP/UNB) — China's economic growth held steady in the latest quarter despite a tariff war with Washington, in a reassuring sign that Beijing's efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction.
The world's second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% over a year earlier in the three months ending in March, the government reported Wednesday. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.
"This confirms that China's economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue," said Tai Hui of JP Morgan Asset Management in a report.
Communist leaders stepped up government spending last year and told banks to lend more after economic activity weakened, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.
Beijing's decision to ease credit controls aimed at reining in rising debt "is starting to yield results," said Hui.
Consumer spending, factory activity and investment all accelerated in March from the month before, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.
The economy showed "growing positive factors," a bureau statement said.
Forecasters expect Chinese growth to bottom out and start to recover later this year. They expected a recovery last year but pushed back that time line after President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports over complaints about Beijing's technology ambitions.
The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.
The two governments say settlement talks are making progress, but penalties on billions of dollars of each other's goods are still in place.
China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, announced an annual official growth target of 6% to 6.5% in March, down from last year's 6.6% rate.
Li warned of "rising difficulties" in the global economy and said the ruling Communist Party plans to step up deficit spending this year to shore up growth.
Beijing's stimulus measures have temporarily set back official plans to reduce reliance on debt and investment to support growth.
Also in March, exports rebounded from a contraction the previous month, rising 14.2% over a year earlier. Still, exports are up only 1.4% so far this year, while imports shrank 4.8% in a sign of weak Chinese domestic demand.
Auto sales fell 6.9% in March from a year ago, declining for a ninth month. But that was an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February.
Economists warn that even if Washington and Beijing announce a trade settlement in the next few weeks or months, it is unlikely to resolve all the irritants that have bedeviled relations for decades.
The two governments agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further penalties while they negotiate, but punitive charges already imposed on billions of dollars of goods stayed in place.
Even if they make peace, the experience of other countries suggests it can take four to five years for punitive duties to "dissipate fully," said Jamie Thompson of Capital Economics in a report last week.
Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be "L-shaped," meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low.
Credit growth accelerated in March, suggesting companies are stepping up investment and production.
Total profit for China's national-level state-owned banks, oil producers, phone carriers and other companies rose 13.1% over a year ago in the first quarter, the government reported Tuesday. Revenue rose 6.3% and investment rose 9.7%.
Shanghai, Apr 16 (AP/UNB) — Automakers are showcasing electric SUVs and sedans with more driving range and luxury features at the Shanghai auto show, trying to appeal to Chinese buyers in their biggest market as Beijing slashes subsidies that have propelled demand.
Communist leaders wanting China to lead in electric vehicles have imposed sales targets. That requires brands to pour money into creating models to compete with gasoline-powered vehicles on price, looks and performance at a time when they are struggling with a Chinese sales slump.
General Motors, Volkswagen, China's Geely and other brands on Tuesday displayed dozens of models, from luxury SUVs to compacts priced under $10,000, at Auto Shanghai 2019. The show, the global industry's biggest marketing event of the year, opens to the public Saturday following a preview for reporters.
On Monday, GM unveiled Buick's first all-electric model for China. GM says the four-door Velite 6 can travel 301 kilometers (185 miles) before the battery needs charging.
VW showed off a concept electric SUV, the whimsically named ID. ROOMZZ, designed to travel 450 kilometers (280 miles) on one charge. Features include seats that rotate 25 degrees to create a lounge-like atmosphere.
Communist leaders have promoted "new energy vehicles" for 15 years with subsidies to developers and buyers. That, along with support including orders to state-owned utilities to blanket China with charging stations, is helping to transform the technology into a mainstream product.
"People's mindset and governmental policies are more encouraging toward e-cars than in any other country," said VW CEO Herbert Diess.
Electric vehicles play a key role in the ruling Communist Party's plans for government-led development of Chinese global competitors in technologies from robotics to biotech.
Those ambitions set off Beijing's tariff war with President Donald Trump. Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain Chinese subsidies to technology developers and pressure on foreign companies to share know-how violate its market-opening commitments.
Electric car subsidies end next year, replaced by sales quotas. Automakers that fall short can buy credits from competitors that exceed their targets or face possible fines.
"Most of the traditional car makers are under huge pressure to launch NEVs," said industry analyst John Zeng of LMC Automotive.
Last year's Chinese sales of pure-electric and hybrid sedans and SUVs soared 60% over 2017 to 1.3 million, or half the global total. At the same time, industry revenue was squeezed by a 4.1% fall in total Chinese auto sales to 23.7 million vehicles.
That skid that worsened this year. First-quarter sales fell 13.7% from a year ago.
Still, China is a top market for global automakers, giving them an incentive to go along with Beijing's electric ambitions. Total annual sales are expected eventually to reach 30 million, nearly double last year's U.S. level of 17 million.
Under Beijing's new rules, automakers must earn credits for sales of electrics equal to at least 10% of purchases this year and 12% in 2020. Longer-range vehicles can earn double credits. That means some brands can fill their quota if electrics make up as little as 5% of sales.
Also Tuesday, Nissan Motor Co. and its Chinese partner displayed the Sylphy Zero Emission, an all-electric model designed for China. Based on Nissan's Leaf, the lower-priced Sylphy went on sale in August.
Mercedes Benz displayed its first all-electric model in China, the EQC 400 SUV. The Germany automaker says it can travel 400 kilometers (280 miles) on one charge and can go from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in 5.2 seconds.
Mercedes plans to release 10 electrified models worldwide, with most built in China, according to Hubertus Troska, its board member for China.
Some Chinese rivals have been selling low-priced electrics for a decade or more.
China's BYD Auto, the biggest global electric brand by sales volume, unveiled three new pure-electric models last month. All promise ranges of more than 400 kilometers (280 miles) on one charge.
Last week, Geely Auto unveiled a sedan under its new electric brand, Geometry, with an advertised range of up to 500 kilometers (320 miles) on one charge.
Geely's parent, Geely Holding, launched a joint venture with Mercedes parent Daimler AG in March to develop electrics under the smart brand. Geely Holding is Daimler's biggest shareholder and also owns Sweden's Volvo Cars.
Beijing wants to force automakers to speed up innovation and squeeze out producers that rely too heavily on subsidies. But the technology minister acknowledged in January that China faces a difficult transition as that spending is ending.
Keeping development on track "will be a challenge," said Miao Wei, according to a transcript on his ministry's website.
The shift creates an opportunity for fledgling Chinese automakers that lag global rivals in gasoline technology. They have just 10% of the global market for gasoline-powered vehicles but account for 50% of electric sales.
The end of subsidies should lead to dramatic changes, said Zeng of LMC Automotive. He said longer-range, feature-rich models from global majors will replace small producers that cannot survive without subsidies.
Electric vehicles "will be much more competitive," said Zeng.
As the cost of batteries and other components falls, industry analysts say electrics in China could match gasoline vehicles in price and become profitable for manufacturers in less than five years.
EVs carry a higher sticker price in China than gasoline models. But industry analysts say owners who drive at least 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) a year save money in the long run, because maintenance and charging cost less.