Bangladesh, US to forge Covid-19 pandemic cooperation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman has sought assistance from the US government to encourage their vaccine-producing companies to partner with capable pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh.
Recalling the two countries’ close cooperation in combating Covid-19 since the early days of the pandemic, adviser Rahman stressed scaling up of the global production of the Covid-19 vaccines and other pandemic management equipment to tackle the virus.
He also stated that Bangladesh is ready to make necessary investments for the capacity enhancement of pharmaceutical companies for such partnerships.
Adviser Rahman and Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment of the US Department of State Ambassador Marcia Bernicat discussed ways to have stronger collaboration on Covid-19 front.
Bangladesh and the US have expressed willingness to work more closely to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, including partnership, in vaccine production.
The meeting held at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, on Tuesday was a follow-up of the first Bangladesh-US Economic Partnership Meeting, held virtually on September 30, 2020.
The participants of the follow-up meeting expressed satisfaction over the ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries and progress made in the areas of collaboration identified during the 2020 Partnership Meeting.
They also underlined the need for remaining engaged through different institutional mechanisms and beyond to further deepen the partnership between the two friendly governments.
The adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on public health as well as the global economy were discussed at length during the meeting.
Adviser Rahman thanked the US government for providing more than 5.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh through Covax.
Ambassador Bernicat appreciated the Bangladesh government’s efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the country and stated that the US would prioritize Bangladesh in its plan for expanding production of PPE as well as Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
The discussion also covered a range of other issues, including labour rights and safety, cooperation in the areas of energy, climate change, and agriculture, US investment in Bangladesh, technology transfer, and restoring Biman flights from Dhaka to New York.
On the labour issue, the Adviser stated about various new initiatives at the behest of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to further improve labour rights and safety in the country.
The US side appreciated Bangladesh’s persistent efforts and offered its help to make even more progress in the sector.
The US was also highly appreciative of the Bangladesh government’s recent move to cancel coal-based power plants.
Both sides recognized that the 2020 Economic Partnership Meeting provided momentum to the ongoing collaboration between the two countries and agreed to hold the second round of the meeting later this year.
The meeting was also attended by Senior Secretary of Finance Division Abdur Rouf Talukder, Bangladesh Ambassador to the US M Shahidul Islam, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin, and officials of the US Department of State.