Marcia Bernicat mentioned a number of areas where further steps are needed, including high tariff, unnecessary or arbitrary regulations, and certain tendering processes and customs procedures
US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, on Wednesday stressed the need for removing barriers to smooth trade and investment to ensure an attractive business environment and to strengthen economic relations with the US.
She mentioned a number of areas where further steps are needed, including high tariff, unnecessary or arbitrary regulations, and certain tendering processes and customs procedures.
The US Ambassador was speaking as chief guest at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at Brac Center in Dhaka.
Appreciating Bangladesh for fulfilling all the criteria for graduating from LDC (Least Developed Countries) status, the envoy said that graduating from the LDC club, Bangladesh will benefit less from many foreign preferences than it is enjoying now.
Eliminating trade and investment barriers will help accelerate Bangladesh’s economic growth, she said.
Bernicat emphasized stronger rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption to create more a healthy business atmosphere in Bangladesh, attracting more foreign investment.
She said US President Donald Trump’s trade policy agenda is focused on breaking down unfair trade barriers.
Bernicat said Bangladesh needs to work more to improve trade issues that hinder the country’s economic growth as well as US businesses here.
Bernicat said Bangladesh should take this opportunity to attract more foreign investors who are finding few places where they can be confident about their investments she said, mentioning that US firms account for 23 percent of Foreign Direct Investment or FDI.
The US diplomat also said the Bangladesh-USA economic relationship has grown significantly.
In 2004, Bangladesh exported $2.4 billion worth of goods and services to the US, while the amount rose to $6 billion in 2018, making the US the largest single-country market for Bangladeshi readymade garments, and the single largest investor in Bangladesh.
US exports to Bangladesh rose to 61% last year.
She urged private sector stakeholders to advocate for creating an even freer, more transparent and open market in Bangladesh.
“To boost the relationship more, we would like to see at least two separate US Trade Centers in Dhaka and in Chittagong” said the IBFB president Hafizur Rahman Khan.
Khondoker Bazlul Hoque, Supernumerary Professor of International Business at Dhaka University, and Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, founding president of IBFB, also spoke on the occasion.