Bangladesh-US to advance economic ties with sustainable supply chain
Post Desk : Dhaka and Washington DC have expressed willingness to work together to advance the US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership to facilitate sustainable supply chains and generate more employment to further strengthen ties between the two friendly countries.
The two states underlined the need for bilateral cooperation to help overcome the global economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic while sharing the common vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region.
This was reflected in a joint statement regarding the vision for advancing the US-Bangladesh Economic partnership, published by US Department of State on Monday while it was transmitted today by The US Embassy here.
The joint statement was issued by the two governments after a high-level virtual meeting, co-chaired by US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Keith Krach and Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Adviser for Private Industry and Investment Salman F. Rahman, MP, on September 30.
During the meeting, both sides discussed wide range of issues regarding bilateral cooperation on investment, energy, digital policy, blue economy, connectivity and public health for building a strong economic partnership and trade ties between the two countries.
Bangladesh side said that it would welcome investment from U.S. firms in its Economic Zones as a discussion in the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) Council Meetings between the two Governments.
The Bangladesh side indicated that US investment and technology in its agro-processing sector, agricultural trade and jute sectors could be beneficial as it could promote food security in its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.
The participants in meeting expressed hope that fair procurement processes in Bangladesh, in accordance with its Government Procurement Rules, would contribute to further expanding the US trade and investment in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh side also welcomed the US Government’s intention to open a Foreign Commercial Service Office in Dhaka, as well as the continuation of a USAID project that would contribute to further improving Bangladesh’s business environment.
The meeting participants encouraged the relevant stakeholders of the two countries to collaborate and explore the possibility of further expanding the LNG footprint, as an efficient and clean primary fuel for Bangladesh’s power generation.
The meeting discussed exploring the possibility of establishment of an energy sector dialogue to facilitate commercial engagement with U.S. energy companies, increase the possible use of US products and services.
The US Department of Commerce announced the creation of the US-Bangladesh Energy Industry Working Group as part of the Asia EDGE Energy Industry Working Group Network.
The meeting participants also recognized the importance of an innovative digital ecosystem to facilitate the cross-border flow of information and data based on secure and reliable networks.
They encouraged both the governments to have a senior level conversation regarding sharing information on telecommunications security as they move towards further expanding 4G connectivity and developing 5G networks and services.
The participants expressed hope that both Governments would work together to develop an inclusive blue economy by sharing knowledge, data and ideas, building greater capacity, and enhancing professional collaboration.
The Bangladesh side expressed hope that the US government would provide the Bangladesh government with fish detecting technology.
The Bangladesh side expressed optimism that the continued positive engagement between the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) would help Dhaka’s efforts regain Category 1 status, which would signify an important milestone in the process for Biman Bangladesh Airlines to resume non-stop services to the United States.
Recognizing Bangladesh’s efforts, USTDA announced a reverse trade mission that will bring a delegation of public and private sector Bangladeshi officials to the United States in 2021 to explore US best practices and advanced technologies for dredging in view to improve Bangladesh’s inland waterways management.
The Bangladesh side described the steps taken by the Government of Bangladesh to reduce congestion and improve operations at the Chittagong port while an US company has been engaged in advancing the Bangladesh railway network.
The meeting participants recognized that fast economic recovery would necessitate new forms of protection for the workforces and populations, including women and children, and that these changes would require enhanced bilateral and global cooperation.
The meeting underscored the importance of further enhancing cooperation and capabilities for public health preparedness, and recommended that a Joint Public Health Experts Response Group be established by the two governments in this regard.
The participants noted that, through greater cooperation, they could help ensure a more sustainable future for the next generations, with the goal of establishing better public financial management.
They expressed optimism that the two friendly governments would continue to engage at political and senior official levels to further deepen the cooperation and consolidate the ties, and devise ways and means to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 and restore impressive economic growth rates.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh Ambassador to USA Mohammad Ziauddin, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and senior officials from relevant ministries and departments of both the countries also attended the meeting.
The US is Bangladesh’s single largest export destination while as a least developed country, 97 per cent of the goods originating from Bangladesh enjoy duty-free benefits in the US markets as per the decision taken by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2005.
According to official figures, the two-way Bangladesh-US trade volume in 2019 was around US$9 billion, an amount which was doubled in 10 years.