Washington has expressed its satisfaction about the endorsement of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) by the cabinet.
“We are very pleased that cabinet has endorsed the agreement,” US embassy chargé d'affaires Jon F. Danilowicz told Dhaka Tribune after attending a programme at the Ruposhi Bangla hotel Wednesday.
The cabinet gave the green light to sign Ticfa with the US after having negotiations for over 10 years.
Both the governments are in discussion to find the date and place to sign the agreement, the US envoy said.
“We are looking for an appropriate time and place and we are in discussions with the government,” he added.
Commerce minister GM Quader on Tuesday told Dhaka Tribune that it would be signed at a mutually convenient date.
The minister also said the government took one and a half years to approve Ticfa as no change was made in the final draft of the agreement since February last year.
About the insertion of ‘gradual’ or ‘progressive’ or similar words in the preamble of the agreement, GM Quader said Dhaka demanded it but Washington did not agree to it.
“Later on, we understood that it is not logical to insert the word and we dropped the issue.”
In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and assistant US trade representative Michael Delaney in March, the US side told the Bangladeshi diplomat that Washington understands it is not possible for any country to correct labour condition overnight.
Delaney in the meeting suggested that on the occasion of signing the agreement, he would make a statement acknowledging ‘progressive’ or ‘gradual’ implementation of workers’ right in Bangladesh.