US eyes broader economic ties amid Bangladesh’s big push on investment

29 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The United States is looking for broader economic engagement with Bangladesh exploring additional ways to deepen the partnership as Bangladesh has made a “big push” for attracting foreign direct investment from major countries, officials said, reports UNB.

Bangladesh and the US are set to explore exciting economic opportunities for advancing their economic partnership though a very senior-level discussions going beyond the existing platform Ticfa.

“We are looking at some bigger picture of areas where we can enhance our economy partnership. We are expecting a few announcements,” an official at the US Embassy in Dhaka told UNB on Monday.

He said the Economic Dialogue between Bangladesh and the US will be held on Wednesday virtually.

Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman will lead the Bangladesh side while Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach will lead the US team at the meeting. The US side, however, said this Economic Dialogue is not part of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) Council. Ticfa’s fifth meeting was held on March 5 this year in Dhaka.

“This economic dialogue is not replacing Ticfa but it has a different emphasis. This is a high-level inter-agency discussions,” said the official.

Both sides will touch upon public health cooperation, investment, especially in agriculture sector, sound digital policies, ICT, blue economy, energy, enhancing connectivity which includes aviation, tourism and transportation and railways. The US sees “tremendous market potential” in Bangladesh with its vast population and Bangladesh’s sustained economic growth.

“Bangladesh maintains a very impressive economic growth,” said the official adding that there is also excellent potential of growing exports to the US market.

Bangladesh has already made successful entry to the US market with PPE.

The official at the US Embassy said they also see increased interest in the US business community.

“So, we should have a senior-level discussion to advance our economic partnership which is our shared vision,” he said.

India, China and Japan are also showing big interest to invest in Bangladesh in the coming days.

Earlier in a recent briefing, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Laura Stone said Bangladesh is strategically located at a crossroads between South and Southeast Asia, and plays an important role in their Indo-Pacific vision, and shares the goals of building a more prosperous, secure, and interconnected region.

“With a dynamic and, as you know, fast-growing economy in normal times, Bangladesh is a development success story. Future successes will be fueled by deepening its democratic institutions and governing structures,” she said recently.

The official at the US Embassy said the foreign direct investment has been coming into Bangladesh for decades and it will continue to come in.

“Your government has made a big push for attracting FDI,” said the official expressing their interest in energy and infrastructure sector.

Energy sector is one of the areas where the US is looking to focus on.

In Bangladesh, the United States is supporting projects that include power plants, LNG import terminals, and joint ventures to supply electricity for decades to thousands of homes, according to US officials.

The US side said both Bangladesh and the US will find out areas where the two countries want to do more.

Responding to a question, another official said further improvement of investment climate will have attract wider FDI into Bangladesh.

And infrastructure will be an important area for investment in Bangladesh, he said.

The official laid emphasis on transparency and said corruption is also an issue.

Chevron and Coca-Cola, Oracle opened its first office here in Bangladesh in March.

The US side is also working through USAID to help promote public-private partnerships in areas that are ripe for Bangladesh to diversify its exports, officials said.

 


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