U.S.- Bangladesh High-Level Economic Consultation
The following is the text of a joint statement by the Governments of the United States of America and Bangladesh.
On June 2, 2022, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Jose W. Fernandez, and Adviser for Private Industry and Investment to the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Salman F. Rahman, MP, convened and co-chaired the Second U.S.-Bangladesh High-Level Economic Consultation in Washington, DC.
Strengthening Business/Commercial Engagement
The meeting participants celebrated the strong and growing economic partnership between the United States and Bangladesh, a highlight of our 50 years of bilateral relations. The United States highlighted Bangladesh’s evident potential to be a regional leader in digital trade and noted with appreciation steps taken by Bangladesh to adopt a transparent regulatory environment to secure broad-based foreign investment in its bourgeoning digital economy sector.
Bangladesh welcomed investment from U.S. firms in Bangladesh, including in the renewable energy, telecommunications, and agricultural and food processing sectors and to its economic zones. Bangladesh warmly welcomed a U.S. concept of a U.S.-Bangladesh Women’s Council, which would enhance women’s employment, entrepreneurship, and access to educational opportunities in support of a more equitable future. Both sides decided to coordinate more on implementing existing transparent commercial policies and consistent enforcement of intellectual property rights in Bangladesh.
The United States acknowledged the Government of Bangladesh’s progress with respect to workers’ rights in Bangladesh in, for example, instituting safety reforms in the garment export sector, simplifying trade-union registration, developing a publicly accessible trade-union database, establishing helplines to receive complaints, digitalizing labor inspection and strengthening labor courts. The United States urged Bangladesh to take further steps to adhere to internationally recognized labor rights standards, including those developed by Bangladesh for its International Labor Organization (ILO) road map. Bangladesh expressed its commitment to swiftly pass necessary reforms and fully implement the four priority areas of the ILO road map. Bangladesh also expressed a commitment to address other areas of labor reform including improving workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in export processing zones (EPZs) and gradually in other sectors across Bangladesh’s economy. Both sides decided that the effective implementation and enforcement of international labor standards can help the economies of both countries recover from the pandemic, broaden economic gains, and unlock further economic potential with other trade partners by creating an attractive business environment.
Bangladesh expressed interest in receiving U.S. development finance from the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for a wide range of infrastructure opportunities. The United States affirmed it would consider Bangladesh’s request while emphasizing the need for Bangladesh to implement the ILO road map.
The United States commended Bangladesh on its admirable response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bangladesh has fully vaccinated over 76 percent of its population and partially vaccinated over 99 percent of the eligible population. Bangladesh expressed gratitude for the over 64 million vaccine doses the United States donated, in partnership with COVAX, to support Bangladesh’s COVID-19 response efforts. The United States welcomed Bangladesh’s interest in the United States-developed COVID-19 Prioritized Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement so that Bangladesh could share best practices with the world on its effective vaccination of its population and Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN).
The United States also highlighted Bangladesh’s role as a global climate leader. Both sides emphasized the importance of delivering on and strengthening existing commitments in the lead-up to COP 27. The United States encouraged Bangladesh to consider joining the Global Methane Pledge, urge major emitting countries to do more on climate initiatives, and continue outlining adaptation priorities. Bangladesh welcomed USAID’s climate support, including a review of embankments to assess the feasibility of nature-based solutions to protect critical biodiverse areas from degradation. Bangladesh encouraged U.S. companies to invest in clean energy to help Bangladesh advance on its COP nationally determined contribution targets for climate.
Both countries share a common vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region with shared prosperity for all. The United States briefed Bangladesh on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), and Bangladesh welcomed additional information on the supply chain resilience and decarbonization pillars of the IPEF. Bangladesh also sought U.S. technical assistance to sustainably explore its ocean resources and further develop its blue economy in pursuit of environmental protection and economic prosperity.
Bangladesh highlighted that re-starting non-stop flights between New York City and Dhaka is a high priority. Both sides are committed to taking the next steps to move this forward at the earliest.