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Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Chinese industries

downloadChina has proposed a special economic zone (SEZ) for its industries on the southern bank of the Karnaphuli in Chittagong, officials have said.

The Chinese government sent a letter to the authority concerned seeking land beside the River Karnaphuli in Chittagong for the SEZ, an official of the ministry of finance (MoF) told the FE.

“Beijing has sought the land for the economic zone when Dhaka requested it to finance construction of a tunnel under the Karnaphuli,” he added.

Now the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) was looking into the Chinese proposal, the official said without identifying himself.

The Prime Minister’s Office asked the BBA to look into the proposal.

The government of Bangladesh has planned to construct a 3.4 kilometre-long four-lane tunnel under the Karnaphuli in Chittagong to ease communications.

According to the government’s preliminary estimation, it will require nearly US$ 700 million for building the tunnel.

Another MoF official said: “China is ready to provide the required fund. But before that it needs to obtain permission for setting up the economic zone on the southern side of the Karnaphuli.”

China wanted to invest in Bangladesh, particularly in the special economic zone, as it found labour cheaper in the country, he added.

Earlier, Bangladesh allowed South Korea to invest here by allocating the country an export processing zone (EPZ) in Chittagong.

The government has formed two organisations-Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA)-to streamline the local and foreign investments here.

In April 2012, the BEZA decided to establish five economic zones in the country-Mongla, Sirajganj, Anowara (Chittagong), Mirershorai (Chittagong) and Moulvibazar.

The government also set up seven EPZs-at Dhaka, Chittagong, Mongla, Adamjee (Narayanganj), Iswardi, Uttara (Syedpur) and Comilla.

Many foreign companies have invested in the EPZs. They produce goods mostly for shipment to different global destinations.

An official of the ministry of communications (MoC) said they were ready to build the tunnel as soon as the fund from China was confirmed.

He said the China-Hong Kong consultancy firm China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and the Arup JV conducted a feasibility study on the proposed Karnaphuli tunnel and submitted its report to the BBA in June last for its consideration.

-FHM Humayan Kabir- http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMTBfMjBfMTNfMV8xXzE4NzI4Nw==

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