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Key Economic Data 
  2004 2003 2002 Ranking(2004)
Millions of US $ 56,844 51,900 45,500 54
GNI per capita
 US $ 440 400 390 175
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bangladesh

Update No: 053 - (28/06/10)

Hundreds of garment factories near the capital of Bangladesh are back running again amid heavy police protection following a wave of protests over wages. Earlier in the week, angry protestors threw stones and smashed vehicles, forcing some of the factories to shut down. Riot police and protesters clashed, injuring hundreds of striking employees. Workers were demanding that the minimum wage be raised from $25 to about $70 a month since there was no increase in rates post-2006 despite a sharp rise in living costs. The head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Abdus Salam Murshedy, said they are waiting for a government appointed board on minimum wages to submit its recommendations. “Whatever the committee and government will decide and finalize, our members will definitely follow this”, Murshedy said. But it is not clear if the wage board's recommendations will be acceptable to workers, who criticized the last pay revision as too small. Labor unions say rising food prices are particularly hurting the poor in one of the world's poorest countries. Bangladesh’s garment factories export mainly to the United States and Europe. The thriving sector has grown into one of the country's main industries as low labor costs have helped exporters sell at competitive rates. Even though business is improving, the recession has affected the country a great deal. “Prices have dropped down, and on top of that cotton price is high, but our ultimate garment price has not been increased” Murshedy said.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has just concluded his two-day official visit to Bangladesh during which he met separately with the country's opposition leader, parliament speaker and president in Dhaka. In talks with Khaleda Zia, chairperson of Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Xi was full of praise for Zia’s contributions to promote the Sino-Bangladeshi relationship. He said China appreciates very much Bangladesh’s precious support on issues concerning China’s core interests like the issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang. Zia said China is a close and friendly neighbor of Bangladesh and Bangladesh will always see China as an important strategic partner. China appears commited to work with Bangladesh to advance their comprehensive partnership of cooperation. Jinping also called on the legislatures of both countries to further strengthen communication and promote mutual understanding. Hamid said the Sino-Bangladeshi relationship is time-honored and all the parties in the Bangladeshi parliament support developing relations with China. In talks with President Zillur Rahman, Xi said that Sino-Bangladeshi relations have stood the test of changes in the world situation and continually move forward. According to him, “cooperation in all areas is very fruitful and has brought real benefits to the two peoples, and also played an active role in maintaining regional stability, peace and development.” Xi said the decision made by both countries to establish a "Closer Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation" showed the direction for further developing bilateral relationship.

France has demonstrated keen interest in investing and developing connectivity, infrastructure and energy - including renewable types, and expressed its readiness to work closely on climate change issues. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has expressed interest in “supporting clean development mechanism, cooperating in agriculture and allied sectors, boosting trade, building capacity and cooperating in hydrology, marine and undersea resources exploitation, river dredging and flood management.” According to a press statement released by Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, Kouchner met with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who is now on a visit to France. Dipu Moni briefed her French counterpart on the government’s initiatives to strengthen democracy, secularism and human rights in Bangladesh and the development initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina under the "Vision 2021” program.

Bangladesh has launched an Efficient Light Initiative to distribute energy-saving bulbs free of cost to millions of households. The program was launched at a distribution center in Dhaka, and State Minister for Energy Enamul Huq told Xinhua in an interview that the program is meant to motivate people so that they can use environment-friendly bulbs which are efficient and consume less electricity. As per the plan, 5.5 million energy saving bulbs will be distributed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Dhaka and some other districts in the country today. They will distribute total 10,500,000 energy saving bulbs this year. Iqbal said the World Bank financed the program with 2.85 billion taka (about 41 million U.S. dollars). After the program, the local companies are not allowed to produce normal bulbs other than energy saving bulbs. 

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