Low quality of construction by Chinese companies is quite common in Bangladesh

Dhaka: Chinese companies are often found involved in malpractices that cause huge losses to several South Asian countries where they operate.

Bangladesh is one such country that seems to have suffered from the unethical behaviour of the Chinese companies. Bangladesh authorities have found many cases of tax evasion by Beijing-based companies or their subsidiaries in Dhaka, Bangladesh live news reported.

In a recent example, a case involving a Chinese company in tax evasion came to light. A Chinese company 'Conda Art Materials Bangladesh Co. Limited', subsidiary of Ningbo Conda Art Supplies Group Co Ltd. (China), supposedly imported goods labelled 'Made in Bangladesh' from China and evaded huge amounts of duty.

Bangladesh authorities suspect evasion of more than 28 crore rupees in about 200 consignments, as per the publication. It added that further investigation revealed that the company was violating the EPZ (Export Processing Zone) policy which stipulated that only raw materials could be imported. However, the company was importing finished products instead of raw materials and re-exporting the same products to other countries.

In April and May this year, authorities, on suspicion of duty evasion, seized about 10 vans and seven containers loaded with goods which the company apparently imported from China by manipulating and luring some Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) officials.

In July, a large consignment of 2700 cartons of foreign liquor from China was seized on Chittagong-Dhaka highway in a special operation by authorities, as per Bangladesh live news.

Back in January, a Chinese company, DG Anti-Fake Company, supplied fake bandrolls (a thin band wrapped around bidis and cigarette packets) leading to fraudulent tax evasion of Rs 250 crore for Bangladesh.

The agency has also been accused of being involved in printing fake Bangladeshi passports, ballot papers, national identity cards, birth registration certificates.

Chinese economic involvement in the South Asian region is often accompanied by corruption and crime that Chinese government-affiliated companies habitually use in the region to gain an unfair advantage.

Estimates suggest that China accounts for the largest illicit financial flows related to corrupt business practices by value globally, particularly to developing countries.

Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2021, China invested USD 10 billion in infrastructure in Bangladesh but according to some media reports, Beijing had missed fulfilling the promises on several deals signed during President Xi Jinping's visit to Dhaka in October 2016.

After missing several deadlines, work on Karnaphuli multiple road tunnel project in Bangladesh's Chittagong district, inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually in 2017, started in 2020.

Being built by China Communication and Construction Company Limited, the 9.3 km long tunnel project would be completed not before 2023, said the Daily Star in its recent report.

The Bangladesh government needs to be careful if it wants to avoid the same fate as Sri Lanka, which is struggling with its worst economic crisis due to the huge Chinese loan debt.