The United States wants Bangladesh to diversify its export base and capture more market share across the world to keep up the momentum as Bangladesh marching towards the next level of development with an impressive growth so far.
“You need more diversified export base. No economy should depend on one commodity. Lots more market share you can capture around the world,” said US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat while responding to a UNB question.
She was talking to diplomatic correspondents in DCAB Talk at the Jatiya Press Club. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and General Secretary Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu also spoke on the occasion.
As an emerging economy, she said, this is one of the things that is really critical for Bangladesh to accelerate its growth.
Bernicat said Bangladesh has considerable strength in other sectors though readymade garment sector helped the country grow in a very robust way.
She said the agriculture sector in Bangladesh has quite success story and there are lots more can be done.
“There’s an entire opportunity waiting in the agro business,” she said appreciating Bangladesh’s agro products.
The US Ambassador said pharmaceuticals industry here in Bangladesh is very impressive and Bangladesh is already exporting to the toughest market of the world with the strongest relation - USA.
“There’re lots more opportunities there as the world is growing. Unfortunately, more medical care we need. There is huge opportunity,” she said mentioning the IT sector as another prospective area.
The US Ambassador said to tap the potential, Bangladesh needs capital and needs people willing to invest.
She said Bangladeshis first will have to invest as foreign investors want to know where Bangladeshis are investing their money.
Bernicat said Bangladesh will be able to attract more investment if the investment process could be made easier.
She said the economic relationship between Bangladesh and the USA is another “core pillar” of partnership between the two countries.
The US envoy said she gave special focus on the trade issue during her more than three years’ engagement in Bangladesh.
She said the US companies are bringing some of the most innovative technologies to this country and these companies contribute significantly to the economic development of Bangladesh.
She also laid emphasis on addressing labour rights issues improving it to international standard.
Bernicat said US exports to Bangladesh had a banner year in 2017, growing 61 percent to reach $1.47 billion dollars, and two-way trade between the United States and Bangladesh has reached over $7 billion dollars.
“This is quite an increase from the two-way trade we enjoyed in 1992 of just over $1 billion dollars,” she said.
The US envoy said Chevron Bangladesh is the single largest investor in Bangladesh, currently producing over 50 percent of this country’s natural gas. “But only 2/3 of Bangladesh is connected to the grid at present and energy consumption is estimated to continuing to grow and reach 34,000 megawatts by the year 2030.”
US companies have the technology, the know-how, the reliability and the resources to help Bangladesh achieve its energy goals to sustain this country’s rapid economic growth, she said.