The US side said its official trade and development agency and US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) can play important roles in generating new economic activities as enablers for US investment in and deals with Bangladesh, keeping consistent with America’s commitment to enhancing commercial ties for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
“The United States and Bangladesh share the common vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region with shared prosperity for all, and expressed hope that the two countries would continue to work together to realise this vision,” reads a joint statement of the two countries.
It came following a virtual meeting convened by US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environment, Keith Krach, and Adviser for Private Industry and Investment to the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Salman F Rahman, on September 30.
The meeting listed a few areas of reforms in Bangladesh and insisted on competitive payment mechanism and insurance market liberalisation, posting all new publicly available regulations and bills in English, and streamlining bureaucratic processes for repatriating profits.
According to the statement, the participants 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 the country.
The Bangladesh side indicated US investment and technology in its agro-processing, agricultural trade and jute sectors could be beneficial.
Such investment and sharing of technology “could promote food security and address environmental degradation caused by use of polyethylene-based items.” added the statement issued by the US embassy in Dhaka on Tuesday.
It expressed hope that both the 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 urged the US to provide the government with fish detecting technology, either through satellite or SONAR, and transferring technology for fish and seafood processing.
Dhaka also welcomed Washington’s willingness to open a ‘Foreign Commercial Service Office’ in Bangladesh.
Continuation of a USAID project that would contribute to further improving Bangladesh’s business environment including customs administration, agricultural and other areas in trade, risk management, regional connectivity, and awareness and transparency of trade policies and procedures was also appreciated.
The meeting participants noted that Bangladesh may continue to reform the labour sector including the Bangladesh Labour Act, Bangladesh Labour Rules and Export Processing Zones Act in alignment with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
A Joint Public Health Experts Response Group was also recommended to meet urgently and periodically to find ways for stronger bilateral, regional and global collaboration in medical education, capacity building, primary health care, and adolescent health.
The meeting underscored the importance of effective import and export regimes to protect the consumers from risks resulting from falsified or unlicensed products, according to the joint statement.
A senior-level conversation regarding sharing information on telecommunications security was also recommended as they move towards further expanding 4G connectivity and developing 5G networks and services.
The meeting encouraged stakeholders of the two countries to collaborate and explore possibility of further expanding the LNG footprint, as an efficient and clean primary fuel for Bangladesh’s power generation.
The Bangladesh side expressed hope that the continued positive engagement between the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) would help Bangladesh’s efforts to regain Category 1 status under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.
Recognising 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.
The Bangladesh side described the steps taken by the government to reduce congestion and improve operations at the Chittagong port as well as signing of a memorandum of understanding on a techno-economic feasibility study by US-based container logistics firm EagleRail.
In the light of Covid-19, the meeting participants noted that it was important for Bangladesh to further enhance its resilience to withstand future economic shocks.