US wants to expand trade ties with Bangladesh

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US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has said Bangladesh and the United States can “go fastest together” in building trade and investment relationships between the two countries.

“I truly believe it. This is not just talk,” he said, noting that the United States is willing to go as fast as Bangladesh is to deepen and expand the bilateral partnership.

The US ambassador said this while addressing an event titled ‘US-Bangladesh Business Forum: Building on 50 Years of Friendship’ held in a city hotel on Tuesday night hosted by HSBC Bangladesh, in partnership with the US-Bangladesh Business Council (USBBC).

In another panel discussion, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam and Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh also spoke, reports UNB.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Ahmad Kaikaus, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh Md Mahbub Ur Rahman and Vice President, Business Development for Chevron Jay R. Pryor also spoke.

Haas said the US-Bangladesh business delegation demonstrates just how ready the US private sector is to invest their time and energy in Bangladesh.

The event was organised to celebrate the relationship between Bangladesh and the USA and noted the important ways in which the two countries can unlock the potential of its bilateral trade.

The forum and dinner reception was joined by senior Bangladesh and US government officials, US and Bangladesh business community leaders, executive business delegates from the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Bangladesh Business Council visiting from the United States, and leading startup founders, dynamically engaged to strengthen the US-Bangladesh economic corridor.

Mahbub highlighted the historic importance of US-Bangladesh business ties and HSBC’s capability to support the special relationship to reach new levels.

“Bangladesh has achieved steady growth over the past decade and is set to graduate into a developing country by 2026. With surging domestic demand, growing service and industry sectors and steady investment in digitization, the country will continue to attract foreign investments,” he said.

With their strong international connectivity, he said, HSBC is well poised to foster the growing trade and investment between the United States and Bangladesh.

As a testament to the importance the US places on growing their trade and investment relationship, the U.S. Embassy will welcome the first ever full-time attaché from the U.S. Department of Commerce this summer, said Ambassador Haas.

He said Bangladesh has a great macroeconomic story and it has been among the fastest-growing economies in the world over the past decade.

The country’s financial leaders have managed its debt well and set aside ample foreign currency reserves to help it weather shocks, said the US envoy.

He said a company considering doing business overseas will certainly want to see a developed transportation system, access to power and water, and a well-trained workforce.

“Bangladesh has made great strides in fulfilling these needs. But a company also wants certainty and a policy framework that is understood and laws that are consistently enforced,” the envoy said.

While low-cost labor is responsible for Bangladesh’s growth until now, concerns over working conditions and labor rights will become the crux of trade decisions as Bangladesh transitions to a middle-income country, he mentioned.

The US envoy hoped that Bangladesh will soon make progress on labor rights and workplace safety so it can qualify for DFC and attract more US trade and investment.

The US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) was established by Congress with a $60 billion investment authorization. Unfortunately, until Bangladesh qualifies for GSP it cannot qualify for DFC financing, he said.

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