The US wants Bangladesh to diversify its export base and capture more market share across the world to keep up the momentum as Bangladesh has been marching towards the next level of development with impressive growth so far.
“You need a more diversified export base. No economy should depend on one commodity. You can capture a lot more of the market share around the world,” said Marcia Bernicat, US ambassador to Bangladesh.
She was responding to a question of the news agency during a DCAB (Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh) Talk in the capital's National Press Club.
Bernicat said the diversification was one of the critical necessities for Bangladesh to accelerate its growth as an emerging economy.
She said Bangladesh has considerable strength in other sectors though readymade garment sector helped the country grow in a very robust way.
She said the agriculture sector in Bangladesh has quite a success story and there were a lot more that could be done.
There is an entire world of opportunities waiting in the agro business, she said appreciating Bangladesh's agro products.
The US ambassador said the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh was very impressive and Bangladesh was already exporting to the toughest market of the world – the USA.
“There are lots more opportunities as the world is growing,” she said stressing the IT sector as another prospective area.
The US ambassador said Bangladesh needs capital and people willing to invest to tap the potential.
She said Bangladeshis first would have to invest, as foreign investors want to know where Bangladeshis were investing their money. Bernicat said Bangladesh would be able to attract more investment if the investment process could be made easier.
She said the economic relationship between Bangladesh and the USA was another “core pillar” of partnership between the two countries. The US envoy said she gave special focus on the trade issue during her stay in Bangladesh for over three years.
She said the US companies were bringing some of the most innovative technologies to this country and these companies contribute significantly to the economic development of Bangladesh. She also laid emphasis on addressing labour rights issues and improving those to international standards.
Bernicat said US exports to Bangladesh grew 61 percent to reach $1.47 billion in 2017 and two-way trade between the US and Bangladesh has reached over $7 billion.
“This is quite an increase from the two-way trade we enjoyed in 1992 of just over 1 billion dollars,” she said.
The US envoy said Chevron Bangladesh was the single largest investor in Bangladesh, currently producing over 50 percent of this country's natural gas. “But only two-third of Bangladesh is connected to the grid at present and energy consumption is estimated to continue to grow and reach 34,000 megawatts by the year 2030,” she said.
US companies have the technology, know-how, reliability and resources to help Bangladesh achieve its energy goals, she said. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and General Secretary Mahfuzur Rahman Mishu also spoke on the occasion.