Dhaka waits for TICFA signing with WashingtonShakhawat Hossain
Dhaka wants to make the best use of the singing ceremony of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement with Washington to bolster the country’s ties with the USA, officials said.
The foreign ministry officials are trying to complete the signing of the much-talked-about deal next month in Washington coinciding with prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New York to attend the UN general assembly session.
Sheikh Hasina is expected to visit America to take part in the UN general assembly in New York on September 23-27.
Commerce minister GM Kader said message has already been given to the US trade officials that Dhaka was ready to sign the deal any day, most preferably next month.
He told New Age that he had information that the foreign ministry officials were trying to convince the US government to arrange the signing ceremony during the PM’s tour.
The signing ceremony of the TICFA between Bangladesh and USA would be the culmination of more than a decade-long negotiation between trade experts of the two countries.
Dhaka last month approved the deal which is the first major bilateral pact between the two nations.
Officials said the presence of Sheikh Hasina at the signing ceremony, much of which depends on the green signal from the US government, would be a big achievement of the present government.
They said the present government has long been looking for an occasion to further warm up bilateral ties with the Obama administration as many believe the relations were tainted because of the steps taken by the government against Grameen Bank founding managing director Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.
Besides, the US suspended Generalised System of Preferences facilities to Bangladeshi products on June 27 following the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,132 garment factory workers which many said was a diplomatic failure.
An official working at Bangladesh embassy in US told New Age that the signing of TICFA would be held in Washington, the schedule of which is yet to be announced by the US.
The United States Trade Representative will sign the deal in for the US while GM Kader will sign the deal on behalf of Bangladesh.
The official at the embassy, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were trying to fix the date for signing the deal next month when the PM is expected to visit USA. He said they were also trying to arrange a bilateral meeting between Hasina and US president Barak Obama. He, however, said the US was yet to give any response in this regard.
Commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed said singing of TICFA is crucial ahead of the review by USTR on the suspended GSP facility to the Bangladeshi products. He said the review will take place in December.
Dhaka has already taken a number of steps in line with suggestion by the USTR to regain the GSP facility.
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Dhaka wants to make the best use of the singing ceremony of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement with Washington to bolster the country’s ties with the USA, officials said. The foreign ministry officials are trying to complete the signing of the much-talked-about deal next month in... Full story