China says US trade row can be resolved through mutual respect

A ship at Qingdao port in Shandong province. China and the US are locked in a trade dispute which has seen them slap tariffs on each other’s goods. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2019

China says US trade row can be resolved through mutual respect

  • Washington had sharply raised tariffs after talks broke down in May and Beijing followed suit

BEIJING: China and the US can find a way to resolve their trade dispute if each other’s concerns are taken into consideration, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Gao Feng also said during a weekly news briefing that China hopes the US will remove sanctions on Huawei Technologies as soon as possible and clear a path for healthy bilateral relations.
The two countries are in the midst of a year-long trade dispute which has seen them slap tariffs on each other’s goods. China has vowed not to give in on issues of principle nor under US pressure.
“Trade teams from both sides, according to the consensus reached at Osaka by leaders from both countries, will restart economic and trade negotiations on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” said Gao.
“China believes that both sides can find a way to resolve the issue if each other’s reasonable concerns are taken into consideration through a dialogue of equals.”

FASTFACT

In May the US raised tariffs on $20 billion of Chinese products to 25 percent from 10 percent while China retaliated with tariff on $60 billion of US goods.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in Japan last month to another trade cease-fire, thanks to Trump’s promise not to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods and to ease restrictions on Huawei. But no deadline has been set for the process to conclude, leaving the possibility of protracted negotiations.
Washington had sharply raised tariffs after talks broke down in May and Beijing followed suit.
On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He exchanged views with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call on implementing an agreement reached between Xi and Trump at their meeting in Osaka, the Ministry said in an earlier statement, without elaborating.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the phone call was “constructive” and the two sides were talking about having a face-to-face meeting.
The Commerce ministry’s Gao declined to provide more information on the details of the call and plans for more talks in the next stage.


Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

  • Experts say deal will usher in more economic and development opportunities for the country

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia’s energy giant, ACWA power, will set up an LNG-based 3,600 MW plant in Bangladesh after an agreement was signed in Dhaka on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by ACWA Chairman Mohammed Abunayyan and officials from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), officials told Arab News on Monday.

According to the agreement, ACWA will invest $3 billion in Bangladesh’s energy development sector, of which $2.5 billion will be used to build the power plant while the rest will be spent on an LNG terminal to facilitate fuel supply to the plant. Under the deal, ACWA will also set up a 2 MW solar power plant.

In recent months, both countries have engaged in a series of discussions for investment opportunities in Bangladesh’s industry and energy sectors. 

During the Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation meeting in March this year, Dhaka proposed a $35 billion investment plan to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the Saudi commerce and investment minister, and Mohammed bin Mezyed Al-Tuwaijri, the Saudi economy and planning minister.

However, officials in Dhaka said that this was the first investment deal to be signed between the two countries.

“We have just inked the MoU for building the LNG-based power plant. Now, ACWA will conduct a feasibility study regarding the location of the plant, which is expected to be completed in the next six months,” Khaled Mahmood, chairman of BPDB, told Arab News.

He added that there are several locations in Moheshkhali, Chottogram and the Mongla port area for the proposed power plant.

“We need to find a suitable location where the drift of the river will be suitable for establishing the LNG plant and we need to also consider the suitability of establishing the transmission lines,” Mahmood said.

“It will be either a JV (Joint Venture) or an IPP (Independent Power Producer) mode of investment, which is yet to be determined. But, we are expecting that in next year the investment will start coming here,” Mahmood said.

BPDB expects to complete the set-up process of the power plant within 36 to 42 months.

“We are in close contact with ACWA and focusing on the successful completion of the project within the shortest possible time,” he said.

Abunayyan said that he was optimistic about the new investment deal.

“Bangladesh has been a model for the Muslim world in economic progress. This is our beginning, and our journey and our relationship will last for a long time,” Abunayyan told a gathering after the MoU signing ceremony.

Economists and experts in Bangladesh also welcomed the ACWA investment in the energy development sector.

“This sort of huge and long-term capital investment will create a lot of employment opportunities. On the other hand, it will facilitate other trade negotiations with the Middle Eastern countries, too,” Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), told Arab News.

She added that Bangladesh needs to weigh the pros and cons before finalizing such contracts so that the country can earn the “maximum benefits” from the investment.

“It will also expedite other big investments in Bangladesh from different countries,” she said.

Another energy economist, Dr. Asadujjaman, said that Bangladesh needs to exercise caution while conducting the feasibility study for such a huge investment.

“We need to address the environmental aspects, opportunity costs and other economic perspectives while working with this type of big investment. Considering the present situation, the country also needs to focus on producing more solar energy,” Dr. Asadujjaman told Arab News.