$20B in loans on table as Bangladeshi premier set to visit China

$20B in loans on table as Bangladeshi premier set to visit China

Sheikh Hasina's upcoming trip to country's largest trading partner seen as strategic balancing maneuver by South Asian nation

By Faisal Mahmud

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Bangladesh plans to request $20 billion in new loans during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's July 8-10 visit to China, a move Beijing believes could significantly enhance their bilateral relationship.

The proposed loans include $15 billion for infrastructure development and $5 billion in yuan to streamline payments for imports from China, multiple sources from the prime minister's office told Anadolu.

Just two weeks after her first state visit to India following her fourth consecutive term as the prime minister, Hasina's upcoming trip to China, Bangladesh's largest trading partner, is seen as a strategic balancing maneuver by experts.

Hasina aims to maintain cordial relations with both regional powers. “This China trip is not only important for balancing diplomatic relations, but also is very important for boosting trade,” Munshi Faiz Ahmed, former Bangladesh ambassador to China, told Anadolu.

Ahmed said that among all other trading partners of Bangladesh, China has the “deepest pockets” and also the “willingness to finance” a lot of projects for the South Asian nation.

During the visit, Bangladesh will also organize a trade and investment summit in Beijing, which would aid in fetching part of the $15 billion infrastructure loan, a top official from the prime minister’s office who preferred anonymity told Anadolu.

Due to a shortage of US dollars, Bangladesh earlier requested a $5 billion loan from China in Chinese Yuan.

Bangladesh Bank governor Abdur Rauf Talukder told a public forum that the loan would make it easier for Bangladeshi businesses to pay for the large volume of goods imported from China, which totals nearly $23 billion annually.

Bangladesh Bank spokesperson Mezbah Ul Haque told Anadolu that during PM Hasina’s visit, Bangladesh would “try to confirm that $5 billion soft loan in Yuan from China.”

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