Economic Relations Division Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
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Last updated: 6th September 2016

Wing-8:Asia & JEC

Wing-8 of ERD is headed by an Additional Secretary who supervises the following branches:

(1) Asia & JEC Branch, (2) Fellowship and Foundation (F&F) Branch, (3) F&F-2 Branch, (4) Asia-2 Branch and (5) Asia-3 Branch

This wing is responsible for promoting economic cooperation between Bangladesh and countries/organizations of the Asia and Pacific region except Japan and Asian Development Bank (ADB). The wing’s activities also cover the whole gamut of socio-economic and trade relations with many of the Asian countries through the instrumentality of Joint Economic Commission (JEC). This wing is also responsible for establishing new windows of scholarships and processing of applications for foreign training and scholarships provided by most of the Development Partners.

Branch: Asia & JEC

The Asia and JEC Branch concerns itself with development cooperation matters with some of the Asian countries. The major development assistance under this branch comes from India, Pakistan and SAARC Development Fund. This Branch is also responsible for overseeing the functions of Joint Economic Commissions (JEC)/Committees between Bangladesh and other countries. The activities of this branch are conducted through two sections.


Asia-1 & 2 Section

Asia-2 section headed by an Assistant Chief deals with Socio-Economic and Technical Cooperation with the following countries:

Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Burma, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, Maldives, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Hong-Kong, Mauritius and Brunei.

The major portion of foreign assistance under this section comes from India, Pakistan and SAARC Development Fund (SDF).

India
India is one of the most emerging development partners of Bangladesh in recent years. Being closest neighbours, both Bangladesh and India have emphasized the promotion of economic cooperation between the two countries. The two friendly countries signed a Joint Communiqué during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India in 2010 to extend the area of cooperation in different sectors in both the countries. Extending a soft loan of US$ 1 billion to Bangladesh by India was the most significant issue in the Joint Communiqué. However, India has declared US$ 200 million out of US$ 1 billion as grant assistance which has already been declared by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh to be invested in Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project. Bangladesh is now implementing a range of projects with the US$ 800 million loan. Besides, Bangladesh and India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently to implement some small development project in socio-economic sectors of Bangladesh with Indian grant assistance. Moreover, Bangladesh is implementing a project to establish a rail link between Akhaura(Bangladesh) and Agartala (India) with Indian grant assistance. India is also conducting a feasibility study to establish an Inland Port at Ashuganj with Indian grant assistance.

SAARC Development Fund (SDF)
SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is a new development partner of Bangladesh. This fund has been raised to finance some multi-national projects among the member countries of SAARC. In the year 2013-14, Bangladesh is implementing a project in ICT sector collaboratively with the Maldives and Bhutan. Bangladesh received a grant assistance of BDT 9.43 crores from SDF to establish two hundred Union Information Service Centers (UISC) in different unions of Bangladesh. It will fasten the digitization of Bangladesh and create four hundred new employment opportunities.  

Pakistan
Pakistan is one of the development partners of Bangladesh. Pakistan extends state credit to Bangladesh and Bangladesh established a sugar plant and a cement factory with the state credit of Pakistan. Different activities are being operating to maintain the Economic Cooperation between Bangladesh and Pakistan  

Issues for the Joint Economic Commission (JEC)
Currently, this section has been conducting all the activities related to the Joint Economic Commission/Joint commission of Bangladesh with India, Pakistan and Indonesia. The JEC’s are held with a view to exploring the possibility of enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries and finding out effective ways by respective governments to get comparative advantage exists in both the countries.


JEC Section
One of the important tasks of ERD is to arrange Joint Economic Commission (JEC)/Joint Commission (JC) /Joint Economic Committee meeting with the bi-lateral countries and multi-lateral organizations. JEC section of Asia & JEC Branch under the Asia, JEC and F & F wing is officially assigned to perform the following activities:

So far Bangladesh has Joint Economic Commission (JEC)/ Joint Commission (JC) agreements with 18 counterparts: India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, China, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Turkey, and EU.

The prime objective of JEC/JC meeting is to explore the possibility of enhancing bi-lateral cooperation between the two countries and put effective measures by the respective government in order to get a comparative advantage prevailed in each country.

Joint Commission is an effective forum to discuss extensively the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries. It gives two fold of opportunity; in one hand, to take the stock of activities implemented so far as agreed during the previous meetings and on the other hand to foster future avenues of cooperation. Whole gamut of the bi-lateral relations such as Political, Economic, Trade, Industrial, Investment, Civil Aviation, Cultural, Shipping, Education, Health, Export of Labor force etc are usually discussed extensively during the meeting. Agreed Minutes are signed after the Joint Economic Commission/ Joint Commission meetings.

Arranging Joint Economic Commission/Joint Commission meeting involves rigorous tasks. At the same time, JEC desk officer need i) to coordinate the relevant Ministries/Divisions/Agencies, ii) to take care of administrative arrangement of the meeting  and most importantly iii) to prepare the brief, agenda, formation of delegation, talking points, running notes, Draft agreed minutes and press release.

At present JEC section deals with arranging Joint Economic Commission/ Joint Commission meeting with Malaysia, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The other JEC/JC meetings are handled with some other sections of ERD. But JEC section acts as the coordinator of all JEC/JC meeting.

After the JEC/JC meeting ERD need to monitor time to time the follow-up action of the decisions of JEC/JC meeting and arrange follow-up meeting at least twice in a year with the concerned Ministries/Divisions/Agencies.

Branch: Fellowship and Foundation (F&F) 

The F& F Branch of ERD is responsible for managing and coordinating foreign scholarships and training programmes offered by various Development Partners for human resource development. Currently the F& F Branch is headed by a Joint Secretary, who is responsible for supervising functions of the F&F-3 section. S/he is the focal person for communication by the Development Partners for day to day activities


F&F-3 Section
1.    It deals with the ‘Sweden-Bangladesh Trust Fund’ which was established with the money received from the interest of Swedish assistance provided to Bangladesh from 1978 to 1984. At present the interest money approximately stands at 21 crore BDT. Students are being awarded with travel grant every year through cheque from ERD. Other activities related to Sweden Bangladesh Trust fund are also being done here.

2.    The process of receiving application through on line for the travel grants is under process.

3.    Under Aus-Aid program, papers of officials working under different Ministries/Department/Agencies of the government are verified and sent to Aus-Aid authority every year.

4.    Training and scholarships from Belgium and The Netherlands are processed here.

Branch: F&F-2

Recently this branch has been declared Branch and it is headed by a Deputy Secretary. This Branch is assigned

1.    To deals with all offers of foreign training/fellowships/ seminar/workshop  etc. of the following countries/agencies:

“India, China, KOICA (Republic of Korea), Thailand, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka,  Philippines, The Asian Pacific, Sweden, New Zealand, Romania, Greece, Canada, Denmark, Norway (NORAD), USSR, GDR, Bulgaria, Switzerland, U.K., Italy, France, Finland, U.S.A., IMF and Austria.”

2.    To Process No Objection Certificate (NOC) of newly appointed Officers/Consultants of British Council and the Asia Foundation.

3.    To attend the meetings of NTC (National Training Council) sub-committee.

4.    To attend the meetings of Inter-Ministerial Scholarship/Fellowship Allocation Committee (Headed by Additional Secretary of MoPA) for allocation of scholarships/ fellowships/ training amongst different Ministries/Divisions/Agencies


Branch: Asia-2

Asia-2 Branch has been upgraded as Branch from Asia-3 Section and currently a Deputy Secretary is in charge of this Branch. This Branch deals with the Economic Cooperation of South Korea, Australia with Bangladesh.

South Korea
The Republic of Korea (RoK) provides economic and technical cooperation to Bangladesh through two organizations: (i) Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF) (ii) Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The EDCF provides bilateral loans to Bangladesh through Export-Import (Exim) Bank of Korea while, KOICA is providing Techincal Assistance in the form of capacity building projects and deputing of experts and volunteers to work in various fields.  The Eximbank is responsible for the operation of the EDCF including project appraisal, execution of the loan agreement and evaluation after project completion.  Main areas of Korean interventions in Bangladesh are Power, Communication (roads and railway) and Telecommunication sectors. The types of loans being provided by the Government of Korea are: (i) Development Project  Loan (ii) Equipment Loan (iii) Two-Steps Loan (iii) Commodity Loan and (iv) Project Preparation Loan. The Agreement for funding any specific project is signed between the Government of Bangladesh and Korean Exim Bank. The General Terms and Conditions of the Loan is 0.5% interest rate, with a repayment period of 30 years including 10 years grace period. The other charges includes 2.0 % overdue charge above the interest per annum and 0.1% service charge of the under the disbursement procedures.

Australia
Major support of the Government of Australia to Bangladesh mainly concentrates in the area of Education and Food security. Each year on an average, 54 Australian Development Scholarships are being offered by the Australian Government to Bangladesh for obtaining higher studies from Australian universities by the Bangladeshi students/officials both from public and private sectors. The broader area of studies mainly focuses on agriculture, public health, public administration, trade and diplomacy and Law. Recently, a Grant Agreement has been signed on 27th March, 2012 between two Governments: Bangladesh and Australia to implement the Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP-III) with financial assistance of AusAID.  Under this agreement the AusAID will provide 49.00 Million Australian Dollar (nearly 420.00 croar BDT) over the next 4 years. Besides, Australia is providing supports to the Community-based interventions, disaster preparedness, income generation and research activities through ACIAR.     
Australia supports Bangladesh to reduce maternal, neonatal and child deaths in rural areas. Australian supports are provided through two separate programs: the Accelerated Neonatal and Child Survival Program (A$20 million 2007-2011) through the UNICEF under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Improving Maternal, Neonatal and Child Survival Program (A$22.00 million 2007 - 2001) are implemented by BRAC in partnership with the UNICEF. Australia also supports the International Centre for Health and Population Research (ICDDRB) (A$3 million 2007-2010) along with other Development Partners for funding towards the Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey.


Issues for the Joint Economic Commission
It looks after JEC of South Korea and the Philippines.
A Joint Economic Commission was formed between Bangladesh and Republic of   Korea in 1986. So far, three meetings of Bangladesh-Korea Joint Commission were held (Dhaka in 1986, Seoul in 1987 and   Dhaka in December 1993).
No JEC meeting with the Philippines is held till date.

Branch: Asia-3

Asia-3 Branch has been upgraded as Branch from Asia-4 Section and currently a Deputy Secretary is in charge of this Branch. This Branch deals with the Economic Cooperation between Bangladesh and China.

China

The Government of the People’s Republic of China provides development assistance to Bangladesh in the form of grant, interest free loan, Chinese Government Concessional Loan, and Preferential Buyer’s Credit. Infrastructure development is the prime area of intervention of Chinese assistance. The assistance is channelized through signing agreement between the two governments.


The general terms and conditions of Chinese assistance:

Type of Loan

Interest Rate

Grace Period

Repayment Period

Currency

Commitment Fee

Management Fee

Others

Government Concessional Loan(GCL)

2%

5 (Five) years

15 (Fifteen) years

Renminbi (RMB Yuan)

0.2%

0.2%

i) The contractor is nominated by the Chinese Government;

ii) Management Fee should be paid within30 days after the agreement becomes effective. The goods, technology and services purchased by using the proceeds of facility shall be purchased from China Preferentially.

Preferential Buyer’s Credit (PBC)

2%

5 (Five) years

15 (fifteen) years

US Dollar

0.2%

0.2%

-Do-

Interest Free Loan

Nil

5 (Five) years

10 years

Renminbi (RMB Yuan

-

-

-

 

Note: The above terms and conditions are negotiable.


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