The United States wants to expand its trade ties with Bangladesh, focusing on investment in oil, gas, energy and consumers goods as the market has massive potential, says a US official.
“US companies come to me and want to know about Bangladesh. The top line is, there is huge opportunity as it is the eightieth largest country with 160 million people, which has registered 6%to 7% GDP growth in last couple of years,” a US embassy official told the Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh government has made lot off efforts to increase the infrastructure, power generation, road transport and other, said the official, who deals in bilateral trade and economic matters.
From the perspective of US companies, Bangladesh is a market of huge potentials.
“The focus is on oil, gas, greenery and consumer goods. But it’s not easy. You need to have patience when you look at Bangladesh,” he added.
Taking on the barriers of doing business in Bangladesh, the official said there are several concerns, including lengthy business registration, regulations and infrastructure that the US companies face here.
“US companies have a lot of experience. Right now, the biggest sector is oil, gas and energy. It is very important for US companies as the Bangladesh economy is doing better,” the official said.
As per the embassy data, many US companies are very interested doing business here and help Bangladesh close its energy generation gap.
In 2016, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the United States was $6.8 billion.
Talking about the prospects of consumer goods, the official said there are massive opportunities in Bangladesh as the country is witnessing a rise of the middle class.
“But the infrastructure including airport and sea port are not in proper shape. The longer lead time is the key barrier for both export and import business,” the official said.
The official said that Bangladesh did not file a petition to the US government for the restoration of suspended Generalised system of Preferences after 2015.
“There was no specific petition from Bangladesh. We only address a country when it petitions. Bangladesh has to petition to have that GSP status restored,” said the official.
He said he believed the reforms of Bangladesh Labour Act and the EPZ Labor law were fully implemented and this would help the process of regaining GSP, he added.
Asked about RMG product prices, he said: “Price is a negotiation between the buyers and the factory owner. At the end of the day, the buyer is paying for what he gets.”
“You have to see if he is paying for low value-added shirt or a silk shirt. The answer here is, Bangladesh has to produce more value-added products to get higher prices for its products,” he added.