Trade Agreement with the US
Bangladesh has approved a trade agreement with the United States as it comes under intense pressure from Washington to improve labour rights following a series of factory disasters.
Bangladesh’s Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, agreed upon the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) with the United States.
The deal, however, will lead to stronger trade and investment ties between the two countries during the time when Bangladeshi garment exports to the US are experiencing a growing trend. According to sources, the deal will also ensure protection of intellectual property, curb corrup- tion and ensure labour rights. Bangladeshi trade officials did propose the deal several years ago, but the government was reluctant to sign the accord for fear of being scrutinized for its poor labour and intellectual property laws.
Recently, Dhaka came under intense pressure, especially from western governments, to improve working conditions in the country following factory fires and the recent tragedy that occurred in Rana Plaza, killing 1,127 people. The US Embassy in Dhaka welcomed this decision and hopes to carry out further discussions on the agreement. In addition, two-way goods trade between US and Bangladesh totalled $5.4 billion in 2012. It is expected that the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement will increase bilateral trade.