Dhaka, Sept 14 (UNB) - Bangladesh has requested the United States to expand market access for Bangladeshi goods to the American market and increase duty-free market facilities in the light of WTO’s Bali Ministerial decisions.
Bangladesh also sought US cooperation for implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
The issues came up for discussion at the 4th meeting of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) held in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
Bangladesh also sought cooperation from the USA trade preferences for Bangladeshi goods, fixing fair prices of Bangladeshi goods, technology transfer, trade related capacity building, digital economy and sustainable graduation of Bangladesh as a developing country.
Bangladesh requested the U.S. to facilitate the access of Bangladeshi nurses and midwives, and easy access to other service sectors in the USA, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington on Friday.
Highlighting various steps creating favorable investment climate, the Bangladesh side sought more US investment in Bangladesh.
On the other hand, the U.S. side discussed expansion of US export to Bangladesh, particularly cotton and medicine, protection of intellectual property, government procurement and labor issue.
Besides, the U.S. side requested the Bangladesh side to notify the WTO Bangladesh’s draft rules of E-Waste.
TICFA signed by Bangladesh and the USA in November 2013 provides a mechanism for both governments to discuss trade and investment issues and areas of cooperation.
The United States is the single largest export market of Bangladesh.
In 2017-18 fiscal Bangladesh exported goods worth US$ 5.98 billion to the USA while Bangladesh imported goods worth US$ about 1.70 billion.
A 12-member Bangladesh delegation was led by the Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce Shubhashish Bose.
Secretary to Ministry of Labour and Employment Afroza Khan, Executive Chairman of BEPZA Maj Gen Mohammad HabiburRahman Khan, Bangladesh Investment Development Secretary Moinul Islam, Director General, WTO Cell Md. MunirChowdhury, Member of National Board of Revenue Prakash Dewan and senior officials of the Commerce and the Foreign Affairs Ministries were in the Bangladesh delegation.
The 20-member U.S. delegation was led by the Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Mark Linscott. Deputy Assistant USTR for South and Central Asia Zeba Reyazuddin, Political/Economic Counselor at US embassy in Dhaka Bill Moeller and other officials were on the U.S. delegation.
Sust, Sept 13 (UNB) – Indian High Commission in Dhaka handed over scholarship checks to 216 descendants of freedom fighters of different districts in Sylhet division and Kishoreganj district on Thursday.
TK 50,000 was awarded for graduate-level-student while TK 20,000 was given for each school level student, disbursing a total of around TK77 lakhs as the scholarship money.
Indian envoy to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla gave away the checks
to the students at a function organized by Indian High Commission at the auditorium of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).
“12,621 students were given scholarships and checks, amounting to TK 21 crores since it had started in 2016,” Shringla said.
Awami League Organizing Secretary Misbah Uddin Siraj, SUST vice-chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed, Freedom Fighter Trust Chairman Abul Kalam Azad,
Additional Police Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Paritosh Ghosh were, among others, present.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - Bangladesh has received a special award in Bangkok from the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and UNESCAP in recognition of its outstanding contributions to South-South Cooperation.
Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UNESCAP Ambassador Saida Muna Tasneem received the award on Wednesday on behalf of the government in a special ceremony at the UNESCAP, said a press release on Thursday.
Commenting on the Award, Ambassador Tasneem said the outstanding Contributions Award was given by the UN to seven countries from the Asia and the Pacific, including Bangladesh, India, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan, for their outstanding contributions to promotion of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Bangladesh received the Award for its pioneering role in building social innovation partnerships over the past decade through the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation under Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Public Service Delivery Innovations utilising the ‘Digital Bangladesh Access to Information Platform’.
The UNOSCC Regional Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Denis Nkala highly praised Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her sustained commitment and leadership to the South-South partnerships in advancing Public Service Delivery Innovation leveraging digital technologies.
Ambassador Tasneem also made a presentation at a panelist at the South-South Cooperation 40th Anniversary Commemorative programme the UNESCAP on ‘Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development partnership philosophy on Innovation, titled, ‘If you want to go far and fast, innovate together’.
She highlighted more than 20 different collaborative projects that Bangladesh has shared over the past few years with 20 different countries from the global South in Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America under the South-South Public Service Innovation Network.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sajjad Karim on Thursday called for stopping the European Union (EU) trade preferences for Myanmar and taking up Rohingya case at the United nations (UN).
Speaking during the European Parliament’s September plenary session, Dr Karim called for the South East Asian country’s trade preferences that it currently enjoys with the European Union to be fundamentally reviewed and for the EU to ensure that Myanmar does not go unchecked at United Nations level.
The debate in Strasbourg was on a resolution - co-authored by the British MEP - on the situation in the country and the imprisonment of the two journalists - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Dr Karim urged Europe to take the lead in the international community on the situation in Myanmar.
Addressing the Parliament, he said, “For some time now, my delegation has been very hesitant to call for the trade relationship we have with Myanmar to be reviewed, but today following this latest development, we find ourselves in a situation where we can no longer simply say that Myanmar is a country that deserves the trade access we provide to it. There needs to be a fundamental review of that relationship.”
Along with that, of course, Dr Karim said, the UN has provided us with an appropriate report, which is very clear in its findings.
He said as an international community and as a set of institutions, Europe must ensure that it provides its support to the international community, so at a United Nations level, they must do the right thing and ensure the voices that they have at the table there are not allowing Myanmar to go unchecked.
“Our voice must be the loudest at that table,” Dr Karim said.
For the past 12 years, Dr Karim has been one of the most active Members of the European Parliament in raising the issue of Rohingya Muslims, including through various resolutions, parliamentary questions and has previously appealed for the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, to review Aung San Suu Kyi’s award back in September 2017.
He has also written to Representative Mogherini asking what steps the European Commission intends to take to help the Rohingya and made calls for them to be given official Myanmar citizenship once the crisis has been resolved, according to a message received from his office.
Dhaka, Sept 13 (UNB) - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Bangladesh jointly launched ‘Efficient and Accountable Local Governance (EALG)’ project on Thursday to further strengthen its local government structure for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project will focus on 16 upazilas and 240 unions under 8 districts.
The five-year project will be implemented in Faridpur, Chandpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Patuakhali, Sunamganj, Rangpur and Netrokona districts to strengthen governance framework of Upazila Parishad and improve service delivery to achieve the SDGs.
An inception workshop was held in the city in this regard organized by the Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.
Inaugurating the workshop, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the government as per its election pledges, amended the Upazila Parishad Act to enable elected representatives of people to work independently and effectively.
“Our government has taken steps for strengthening local government institutions as a strategy to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots levels, this project will further help us to do so and paving the way for Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The project is funded jointly by DANIDA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP and implemented by the Local Government Division, Government of Bangladesh with total budget of $7.11m.
Deputy Head of Mission and Director of Cooperation of the Embassy of Switzerland Beate Elsaesser also attended it and said that EALG’s intervention would enable citizen participation in LGI functions especially in the planning and budgeting process.
Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark Refika Hayta urged the ministry to take affirmative policy actions aligning with the priorities set in the 7th five-year plan.
Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee said, “Through this project we are supporting the government to localize SDGs for the first time, by including them in planning and budgeting of local government.”
It will also strengthen the capacity of the Union Parishads and provide policy support to the government for establishing effective local government system through citizens’ participation, said UNDP.
Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary, Local Government Division, Amitavh Sarker, Additional Secretary, LGD and National Project Director, EALG, Abu Shahin M Ashaduzzaman, Project Coordinator EALG and MdIftikher Ahmed Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, LGD also spoke.
Representatives from the government, local government and Members of Parliament were present at the workshop.