In many respects, the euphoria of the democratic win in Washington was reflected in Dhaka. There exist several dimensions to relations between the two countries and opinions vary widely on change, if any, will come out of the newly re-elected government of President Obama. Of the several sticking points that remain unsolved, the most prominent from Bangladesh perspective is of course, duty-free access of readymade garments (RMG) to the United States.
With forecasts of income tax cuts in the offing for American middleclass resulting in higher disposable income for this important segment of the population could indeed prove a boon for our RMG sector. Again one must put this in perspective since US policy is particularly sensitive to labour and human rights. These are issues that will have to be dealt with and resolved amicably.
Although the newly re-elected President remains committed to programmes such as Feed the Future, Global Health and Food Security Initiative, that can go a long way in assuring food security for countries such as Bangladesh, the flipside to gaining access and deepening relations depend on us resolving unresolved issues. In a sense, for Bangladesh to take advantage of what is on offer revolves around our ability to address issues that are important to our most important bilateral partner. Again, as stated before, it would be unwise to expect radical shifts in foreign policy of the United States. With that premise in mind, it is largely up to us to work towards improving our track record on governance and civil liberties, for at the end of the day, bilateral relations is all about give and take.