State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam met the visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun yesterday. The whole range of bilateral political and economic relations between Bangladesh and US including trade, investment, public health cooperation, agriculture and energy cooperation were discussed at length.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Executive Chairman of BIDA, Chairman BEZA, Foreign Secretary, Commerce Secretary, CEO of Public Private Partnership and other senior officials attended the meeting. Adviser for Private Industry and Investment to Prime Minister of Bangladesh Salman F Rahman, was also present during the second segment of the meeting. Before coming to Bangladesh Mr. Biegun paid a visit to India. The Deputy Secretary Beigun is now in Dhaka to pay a two days official visit on 14-15 October 2020 with the aim to strengthening ties between two countries.
State Minister expressed condolence for the loss of lives in the USA and appreciated the support provided by the USA to Bangladesh in handling the COVID 19 pandemic crisis. He mentioned about the socio-economic development under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Shahriar Alam conveyed thanks for USA’s principled stand and steadfast humanitarian and diplomatic support to Bangladesh in dealing with the Rohingya crisis.
Deputy Secretary Beigun lauded the economic stability of Bangladesh and conveyed the US Government’s evolving interest in Bangladesh. Mr. Beigun appreciated the generosity shown by Bangladesh to shelter Rohingyas and assured to continue US support in bringing a peaceful and long-term solution to the problem.
The State Minister thankfully mentioned that the US is Bangladesh’s single largest export destination country and also the largest investor. Discussion was held about the future trade possibilities of the US in the large market of Bangladesh. Both sides expressed their optimism that the US companies may take advantage of the competitiveness of Bangladesh and invest in the country in greater volume particularly in the areas of jute, ship building, leather, ICT, energy, pharmaceuticals and infrastructural development.
The State Minister sought US Deputy Secretary’s support in repatriating Rashed Chowdhury, the killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman residing in the USA. Deputy Secretary Beigun assured him of extending cooperation in this regard.
Both sidese emphasized the need for close cooperation between the Governments of the United States and Bangladesh to address the continually evolving challenges related to health and economy during the current and post-COVID-19 global pandemic situation.
During the meeting Mr. Beigun also highlighted the productive discussion that took place in the last consultation on economic partnership in September and hoped that the two countries can build upon that in the days to come.
Advisor Salman F Rahman mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized on strengthening agriculture sector through agriculture trade and technology. He added that Bangladesh is willing to invest in agro-processing sector. Referring that information and communication technology is a very promising area, Advisor Rahman sought US co-operation in this regard. Both the leaders agreed to work on the adverse impact of climate change the world is facing.
State Minister Alam also stressed on the resumption of visa for Bangladeshi students going for studying in the US in the next Spring session. Mr. Beigun informed that they are actively considering resumption of this service at the US Embassy following appropriate health guidelines. The State Minister hoped that both the countries will work together to restart Biman flights to New York. Both of them expressed their high optimism to have regular discussion on various issues of mutual interest.
The US Deputy Secretary is expected to meet the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister today.