AmCham Monthly Luncheon with Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P. Honorable Foreign Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
GUEST OF HONOR & SPEAKER: Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
AmCham President Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed in his remarks said the enhanced cooperation with the United States might attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) for the country. He said the US was the largest single country investor in Bangladesh. Its current total investment in the country was more than $3.50 billion in different sectors that include banks, energy and power, agriculture, and information and communication, he informed. The FDI in diversified business fields were playing a vital role to generate employments in the country, he added. “More cooperation between the two friendly countries may attract more investment in developing infrastructure including ports, roads and transports,” he said.
The AmCham president also said the country’s current economic growth was higher than many other Asian countries. To cope up with the global competition and to face with newer challenges, it was imperative to attract more investments in diversified sectors, he added. He said the world economy was gradually shifting to knowledge-based economy and the country was not an exception to this. “So it is crucial to focus on high technology based industries and services instead of heavily dependent labor intensive economy right now,” he added. On exports, he said the country should spend more on research and developments to increase exports to the US. Besides, diversified products should be manufactured for expanding exports for the country, he added. He hoped the partnership between Bangladesh and the US for economic development would be in win-win situation.
Guest of Honor of the Luncheon, honorable foreign minister Dr A.K Abdul Momen in his remarks urged the United States (US) to give duty-free market access of Bangladesh ready-made garments (RMGs) made of imported US-cotton. He said the US already provides the facility through agreements with sub-Saharan African and Caribbean countries under an African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Caribbean Initiative, adding: “We want such duty-free facility for Bangladesh RMGs to US markets.” In return he proposed the double fumigation that US imported cottons face to enter into Bangladesh due to a prevailing law made in the Pakistan era can be reviewed as well.
He also called for diversification of the export basket: some 84 percent of exports earnings come from the apparel sector. “Overdependence on one sector is not good. So, we must go for product diversification.” At the same time exports must be increased, “For this we are urging foreign investment.”, he added. The rate of returns on investments in Bangladesh are high and following the Rana Plaza collapse, labor standards and safety and security measures have all been improved. He urged American companies to make more FDIs in Bangladesh to help the country achieve its development goals and become a developed country by 2041.The government is working to hack away bureaucratic complexities to make the country more inviting to foreign investors. US Counsellor for Political and Economic Affairs to Bangladesh Brent T. Christensen also attended the program and spoke on behalf of the US Embassy Dhaka on how to improve the bilateral relationship days ahead. AmCham Vice-President Syed Mohammad Kamal also spoke on the occasion about the upcoming US Trade Show inviting the attendees to join the annual event taking place from 27th February 2020 at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka. AmCham members, representatives of Diplomatic missions in Bangladesh, business leaders, members of civil society, current and former diplomats attended the program as well.