China has once again evinced its keen interest to finance the proposed $65 million exhibition centre in Dhaka as a gesture of goodwill for Bangladesh.
In a letter forwarded to the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry recently, the Chinese government said it was ready to provide a grant of $22 million to Bangladesh to help build the proposed "Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre" at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city.
Sources said though Dhaka and Beijing inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Chinese grant during the Bangladeshi premier's visit to China in mid-August, the formal letter regarding this was sent to the Foreign Ministry early this month.
Official sources said the Bangladesh government would finance the residual amount needed to construct the exhibition centre at the National Parade Square.
The exhibition centre would house a raft of booths and pavilions to be designed in a unique way to facilitate holding fairs and exhibitions of international standard.
It can host the Dhaka International Trade Fair, which has been an annual trade extravaganza for a long time, officials said.
Of the total grant, Chinese side would spend around $0.5 million for conducting a feasibility study on the proposed exhibition centre, according to the letter of exchange, as it is called.
Once Dhaka responded positively, a technical mission from China would pay a visit Dhaka in the foreseeable future, foreign office sources said.
An official of the Economic Relations Division said that the two sides would go for signing an agreement to this effect following a similar letter to be sent by Dhaka.
"We're looking forward to exchanging the letter after the arrival of the ERD Secretary from the United States," the official added.
However, it would require the approval from the Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman before signing the deal on Chinese grant.
The MoU in this respect was inked on August 18 in Beijing in the presence of the premiers of Bangladesh and China.
The Ministry of Defence has already handed over the land of National Parade Square on 39 acres to the Ministry of Commerce for the construction of the centre.
Previously, China converted loans into grants for the China-Bangladesh Friendship Conference Centre in the capital.
Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia's third visit to China took place in August this year after assuming her office in 2001.
The latest visit carried special significance in view of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Dhaka and Beijing.
The anniversary celebrations got off through the bilateral visit of Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, to Bangladesh last April and the declaration of year 2005 as Bangladesh-China Friendship Year.