Ma says trade row lets down 1m US jobs vow


MNA Business Desk: Alibaba founder Jack Ma said his ambitious pledge to create one million jobs in the US had been foiled by the trade row between Beijing and Washington, Chinese state news reported Thursday. The billionaire owner of China’s largest online shopping portal made the headline-grabbing promise to Donald Trump last year, as Beijing courted the then-newly elected president. But Ma told official news agency Xinhua his vow had been made on the basis of continued cooperation and trade growth between the US and China, and would now be difficult to fulfill, AFP reports. “The current state of affairs ...

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BBS records country’s highest 7.86pc GDP growth


MNA Business Desk: The country has posted the highest-ever gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 7.86 per cent in 2017-18 financial year, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). This growth, estimated by the national body to collect statistics, has surpassing the projected growth at 7.65 per cent for the year that ended on 30 June. Accordingly, per capita income rose to US$1,751 in 2017-18 from US$1,610 in the previous fiscal, reported news agency. The final figure of economic growth was placed at the meeting of the executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held in the NEC conference ...

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Trump hits China with another $200b tariffs


MNA Business Desk: US president Donald Trump on Monday defied warnings and escalated the trade confrontation with China, hitting the country with tariffs starting next week on another $200 billion in imports and threatening to target even more if Beijing retaliates. Trump said China had refused to change the unfair practices that hurt US businesses and workers. “For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies,” Trump said in a statement. “These practices plainly constitute a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy,” ...

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Beijing to reject trade talks if Washington imposes tariffs

trade talks

MNA Business Desk: The Chinese government may decline to participate in proposed trade talks with the United States later this month if the Trump administration moves forward with additional tariffs on imported Chinese goods, reported news agency. The US had proposed the talks, but at the same time moved forward with planning additional tariffs on some $200 billion of Chinese products. The report quoted one senior Chinese official saying the country would not negotiate “with a gun pointed to its head.” Other officials who advise the country’s leaders are suggesting China impose limits on the sale of parts and supplies ...

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Carbon tax can juice up BD GDP: WB

carbon tax

MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh can boost its tax-GDP ratio by around 10 per cent by introducing carbon tax in the country, a recent World Bank study has said. Such type of tax can help the country reduce environmental damage while raising additional resources for development, the bank said. “Carbon taxes could be a significant revenue source for the government,” said the WB study. “Carbon taxes could rise up to 1.0 per cent of GDP, at $ 30 per kilo of CO2 equivalent. This is no small amount for a country that usually collects a little over 10 per cent of ...

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Bangladesh denied duty-free market facilities by US


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh has again been denied re-admittance to the US trading privilege known as the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with Washington citing ongoing concerns over the pace of labour market reforms since the Rana Plaza tragedy. Even though the two countries renewed their economic ties during the fourth meeting of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFAdenied) in Washington, DC, on Thursday, there was no obvious change in the US stance on Bangladesh and the GSP. The US trade program is designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for ...

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China plans bullet train to Kolkata via Bangladesh, Myanmar

bullet train

MNA Business Desk: Chinese Consul General in Kolkata Ma Zhanwu said Wednesday his country was mooting a bullet train service between Kunming and Kolkata, traversing through Myanmar and Bangladesh, reported news agency. With joint efforts of India and China, a high-speed rail link could be established between the two cities, Mr Zhanwu said at a conference here. “It will only take a few hours to reach Kolkata from Kunming if the rail link becomes a reality,” he asserted. The envoy also said that Myanmar and Bangladesh would benefit from the project. “We may have a cluster of industries along the ...

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Bangladesh exports down 11.7pc


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh’s exports fell to $3.2 billion in August, down 11.7 per cent from a year earlier and nearly 1 per cent below target, reported news agency. But for July and August, the first two months of the country’s 2018-19 financial year, exports rose 2.5 per cent to $6.79 billion from a year earlier, the Export Promotion Bureau said. Shipments of readymade garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, totalled $5.74 billion in July and August, up 3.8 per cent on the year. Exporters attributed the drop in August to holidays for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. The ...

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India begins 500MW additional power supply to Bangladesh


MNA Business Desk: Sheikh Hasina has expressed hope that India will help Bangladesh implement its plan to import 9,000 megawatt (MW) electricity from the neighbouring countries by 2041. Hasina’s remarks came after India on Monday afternoon began supplying additional 500MW electricity to Bangladesh as part of the two countries cooperation agreement regarding the energy sector. The power transfer from West Bengal’s Baharampur grid to Kushtia’s Bheramara was inaugurated jointly by the prime minister from Ganabhaban in Dhaka, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata via videoconference. Hasina and Modi, along ...

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Regional lending gap threatens SDGs: Study


MNA Business Desk: The big regional lending gap emerged one of the major barriers to the country’s financial institutions (FIs) in achieving SDGs (sustainable development goals), according to a study released on Sunday. The study report of the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) titled “Achieving SDGs in Bangladesh: The role of banking sector” found almost 85 per cent of the banks’ advances are concentrated only in Dhaka (66.18%) and Chattogram (18.80%) in 2017. Six other regions are getting 0nly 20 per cent of the overall loans which experts term lending inequality, not suitable for achieving SDGs by 2030. Of ...

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AIIB to invest $270m in clean water project

clean water

MNA Business Desk: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) plans to invest $270 million in a clean water infrastructure project. The project aims to improve access to piped water and sanitation to municipalities with poor water quality. The announcement was made on September 3 when members of the AIIB’s Board of Directors visited Savar to meet the beneficiaries of an ongoing energy infrastructure project. “We are delighted that our investment has had a positive impact on the low income population of Bangladesh,” said AIIB Director Emil Levendoḡlu, reports news agency. “We are considering investing in a clean water and sanitation ...

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Trump to impose tariffs on $200b Chinese imports


MNA Business Desk: With US president Donald Trump gearing up to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing certain to retaliate against any measures, the world’s two biggest economies are locked in an escalating trade war, with no resolution in sight. The United States is negotiating with Canada this week to try and finalize a deal to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, an outcome some in the White House say will allow Washington to turn up the heat on Beijing. “The hope is that this (NAFTA) puts a lot of pressure on the Chinas of ...

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US, Canada making progress on NAFTA talks


MNA Business Desk: Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Wednesday said the US and Canada are making “good progress” on the revision of the continental free trade deal but talks will continue to resolve remaining issues. As the neighbors try to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement as a three-country deal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned he would stand firm on key issues as he questioned Donald Trump’s respect for trade rules, reports news agency. Amid the charged political atmosphere, dogged by Trump’s repeated threats to leave Canada out of the revised NAFTA, Freeland said she believes “a deal ...

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NEC approves 100-year delta plan

Delta Plan

MNA Business Desk: The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved the long-awaited mega strategy ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) 2100’ in a bid to tap the huge potentials of Bangladesh as a delta country through water resources management, ensuring food and water security and tackling disasters. The 100-year plan got the approval from the NEC meeting on Tuesday held at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area in Dhaka with NEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, reports news agency. The General Economics Division (GED) has prepared the Plan with the assistance of the Dutch government and ...

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Forex reserves rise to $32.93b


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves rose to $32.93 billion at the end of August, $847 million more than at the end of July, the central bank said on Monday. The reserves were down nearly 2 per cent from a year earlier, and are sufficient to cover about 10 months’ worth of imports for the country of 160 million people. Steady garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas, the key drivers of the country’s more than $200 billion economy, have helped foreign exchange reserves grow steadily in recent years. The government is targeting record economic growth of 7.8 ...

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Tripura CM stress on Indo-Bangla trade relation


MNA Business Desk: The Tripura chief minister laid emphasis on the importance of border trade which would cement the camaraderie between India and Bangladesh, reported news agency. The economic prosperity of Bangladesh and India could be improved by developing border infrastructure and removing basic trade barriers, top politicians and experts said at a seminar conducted by the Agartala Press Club yesterday. The two-day seminar inaugurated by Biplab Kumar Deb, the chief minister of the northeast Indian state of Tripura, was titled “Discussion on Strengthening Indo-Bangladesh Relationship.” During the seminar, Deb stated that the under-construction bridge over River Feni in southern ...

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Pentagon suspends $300M in military aid to Pakistan


MNA Business Desk: The US military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants, in a new blow to deteriorating ties. The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by president Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.” The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in ...

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Dhaka for solar power grid among BIMSTEC nations

solar power

MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh on Friday proposed introduction of solar power grid in the BIMSTEC countries and BIMSTEC Cruise on their sea routes, reported news agency. ‘Prime minister Sheikh Hasina made the two proposals at the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat Session held in Kathmandu in the morning,’ foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque said while briefing reporters after the session at the Poolside of Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza. The foreign secretary said the prime minister also made a proposal for strengthening the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, which was accepted by all members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and ...

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BIMSTEC foreign ministers agree on $50b project

Foreign ministers

MNA Business Desk: Foreign ministers of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) nations have agreed on a plan to improve connectivity among the member countries. They agreed to push forward with 167 connectivity-related projects that would cost an estimated $50 billion, reported news agency. The consensus came following a detailed study by the Asian Development Bank. The study included: transportation and cross-border facilitation, multimodal transport and logistics, infrastructure development, aviation, maritime transport, human resources development—as well as communication linkages and networking. The BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study (BTILS) was updated by the ADB ...

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Talks on to set agendas for BIMSTEC Summit


MNA Business Desk: Foreign secretary level officials of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) member states held a pre-summit meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal. Chaired by Nepal Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, foreign secretaries from the member countries are holding discussion to prepare the agendas for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit slated for August 30 and 31. The meeting will also prepare a draft for Kathmandu Declaration that will be endorsed by a ministerial-level meeting slated for Wednesday, reported news agency. Besides, the meeting will discuss issues related to clustering the areas of co-operation or downsizing ...

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DSE gets fund from Chinese strategic partner ‘in a week’

strategic partner

MNA Business Desk: The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) is set to receive the fund from its Chinese strategic partner, which is a consortium of two stock exchanges, within a week against the DSE’s shares sold to the partner. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) approved the proposal made by the Chinese consortium for being a strategic partner of Bangladesh’s premier bourse on May 3 last. As per the BSEC approval, the DSE has sold its 25 per cent stake or more than 450.94 million shares to the Chinese consortium comprising Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange. Minhaz Mannan ...

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Mexico, US NAFTA talks to resume


MNA Business Desk: US and Mexican trade negotiators are close to squaring away bilateral differences on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will resume talks on Monday morning, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Sunday. Earlier, Guajardo told reporters the two sides were likely “hours” away from reaching a common position, but in the evening he said more work still needed to be done, and that talks would start again on Monday at 9 a.m. local time in Washington. “We’ve continued making progress,” Guajardo said. The Mexico-US discussions have focused on crafting new rules for the automotive ...

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WB’s blockchain success exceeds expectations


MNA Business Desk: The World Bank raised Aus$110 million ($80.9 million) in the first-ever blockchain bond offering following investor demand that exceeded expectations, the global lender announced. The Washington-based bank, which has embraced blockchain as a valuable tool in its economic development mission, had initially expected to garner Aus$50 million ($36.8 million) for the two-year bond, with a possible doubling of that size depending on investor interest, reported news agency. “I am delighted that this pioneer bond transaction using the distributed ledger technology, bond-i, was extremely well received by investors,” World Bank Treasurer Arunma Oteh said in a statement. “We ...

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BD 3rd largest LDC on exporting commercial services


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh is the third largest exporter of the commercial services among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), reported news agency. The country exported commercial services worth $ 2.26 billion in the past year. Word Trade Statistical Review-2018, released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month, unveiled the scenario. The country’s share in world total export stood at 0.04 per cent in the past year while the ratio stood at 6.60 per cent for the LDCs total export of commercial services. Commercial services are total services minus ‘government goods and services, not included elsewhere.’ The major components of ...

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CPD to arrange regional seminar on South Asian SDGs


MNA Business Desk: The board of trustees of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) advised its management to concentrate on issues of current public concerns through research and dialogue activities, the leading private think-tank said in a statement on Monday. The CPD took the decision at its 51st meeting of the board of trustees, presided over by CPD Chairman Rehman Sobhan, at Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka on Sunday. The board took note of the CPD’s ongoing research on the themes of restructuring in the readymade garment sector, decentralisation, multilevel governance and corruption, and governance challenges in implementing sustainable development ...

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Greece exits final bailout programme successfully


MNA Business Desk: Greece has successfully exited its final, three-year bailout programme, agreed in August 2015 to help it cope with the continued fallout from a debt crisis, the euro zone’s ESM rescue fund said on Monday. “Today we can safely conclude the ESM programme with no more follow-up rescue programmes as, for the first time since early 2010, Greece can stand on its own feet,” Mario Centeno, the chairman of the ESM’s board of governors, said in a statement. “This was possible thanks to the extraordinary effort of the Greek people, the good cooperation with the current Greek government ...

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Mexico hopes to resolve NAFTA talks


MNA Business Desk: Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said US and Mexican negotiators are making progress and could resolve remaining issues to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement by next week. Once the two nations iron out the pending differences, Canada could then rejoin the discussions, he told reporters following a meeting with US trade officials. “Hopefully we will be able to close up no later than the middle of the week the remaining issues and probably there will be space to start the trilateral,” he said, reported news agency. Guajardo has been leading a delegation to Washington for ...

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