The Financial Express

Coronavirus outbreak: BD mission fears serious impact on Dhaka-Beijing bilateral trade

SYFUL ISLAM | Published: February 18, 2020 10:28:26 | Updated: February 19, 2020 17:13:41

A view of Chittagong port is seen in this undated photo. Source: Wikipedia A view of Chittagong port is seen in this undated photo. Source: Wikipedia

Bangladesh mission in China has expressed the fear that export-import trade between Dhaka and Beijing may face a major setback due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The outbreak of the coronavirus may also hit the Chinese supply chain, thus hampering bilateral trade seriously, he added.

Commercial Counsellor of the Bangladesh embassy in Beijing Mohammad Monsur Uddin in a letter, dated February 11 last, informed the commerce ministry about the latest situation in China where the coronavirus continues to spread.

He said nearly 28 per cent of Bangladesh's imports including 40 per cent of textile and textile related goods and 30 per cent machinery come from China.

"…consequently, (the) export-import of Bangladesh may also be hampered due to the coronavirus epidemic," he wrote.

In the letter, Mr Uddin elaborated the impacts of the novel coronavirus, officially renamed COVID-19, on China, the global supply chain powerhouse.

He also wrote that as the deadly virus continues to spread, it has extremely impacted Chinese tourism, transportation, education and aviation sectors while stuck market saw a big slump and some factories were idling for an extended period.

The city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, is a major auto-manufacturing site. Due to an epidemic of the virus, the Chinese auto industry may suffer severe blow, he wrote.

Major tech companies and international retailers have already closed operations in China while the drop-off in returning factory workers may result in lower productivity which may hit the supply chain, the diplomat added.

He also mentioned that a number of Chinese citizens who were working in different infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, including Padma Bridge, are also facing difficulty in returning to Dhaka due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Commerce Secretary Dr Jafar Uddin could not be reached over phone for his comment in this regard.

However, a senior commerce ministry official told the FE on Monday that the ministry has asked the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) to submit a report shortly on the possible impacts of the virus outbreak on the country's trade and economy.

Besides, the ministry officials are collecting information from its own functionaries to assess the impacts of the epidemic.

"We will devise mechanism to face the challenges of the possible impacts based on assessments," he said.



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