Biden for stronger US-Bangladesh ties
US President Joe Biden has expressed his government's intention to deepen the strong and abiding friendship with Bangladesh. He also wished to work together for achieving common goals of the two countries. While welcoming the new Bangladesh ambassador to the USA, the president made the remark in an acceptance letter--a few days ago.
However, the United States and Bangladesh share a vision for an inclusive, secure, and prosperous future. The two countries cooperate closely on a range of issues, including economics, security, governance, and development. The United States has invested billions of dollars to improve the life-standard of Bangladeshis. Moreover, Bangladesh receives a significant amount of US assistance in agriculture and some other sectors. The country also provides training facilities for Bangladeshi teachers, health care providers and army personnel. US is Bangladesh's largest export destination. Bangladesh exported a total $6.7 billion in 2019 to the USA. At the same time US foreign direct investment in Bangladesh (stock) was $493 million. In addition, during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, US provided over $36 million assistance to the Rohingyas.
Undeniably, USA and Bangladesh enjoy a warm and friendly relation. Bangladesh has been achieving impressive economic growth for years. The United States is a partner of Bangladesh's development success. Hence, there are multiple fields where these two countries can improve further relations. Efforts must continue to enhance cooperation between Dhaka and Washington with respect climate change, security, poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
Despite significant development achievements, poverty, infrastructure shortcomings, weak governance structures and the need for greater investment in human capital remain challenges to Bangladesh. These sectors need investment desperately. US investors should come forward to invest in energy, agro-processing, ICT and a few other sectors. Since the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, Bangladesh has been deprived of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facility in US market. Following the US demand for workplace environment and labour rights, Bangladesh made progress in transforming its apparel sector. Now it is time for the US government to reconsider the GSP issue.
We expect that the new US administration will show its vigilance in resolving Rohingya crisis. In this regard, putting more pressure on Myanmar to take the Rohingyas back with dignity and full citizenship is imperative. Finally, in order to attract more foreign investment Bangladesh needs to address issues such as corruption and infrastructure deficiency to improve the country's business climate. Moreover, diplomatic initiative is crucial to be more proactive in order to make gains from the bilateral relations.