Trade Agree­ment with the US

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

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.

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