Mozena mirrors buyers' concern
Many US companies have expressed concern over buying ready-made garment products from Bangladesh after the killing of a garment workers' union leader, said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena yesterday.
“US companies want to buy products from Bangladesh but they are very concerned about the labour issues, safety at workplace and freedom of association in Bangladesh,” he said.
These companies will not put their reputation at risk, he said while speaking at a meet-the-press organised by the Jatiya Press Club.
He said the labour issue and the killing of garment union leader Aminul Islam in early April were a matter of considerable concern and tremendous disappointment as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO) had filed a petition with the US authorities raising their concern and pressing for suspending Bangladesh's access to GSP facilities.
The US envoy cautioned that if the petition went against it would be detrimental to trade and investment in Bangladesh. He also mentioned lack of proper infrastructure and corruption and hartal as some major obstacles to boosting trade and investment.
On the country's political situation, the US ambassador said he was confident about some kind of agreement between major political parties.
“I saw recurring signals from both the major parties manifesting some flexibility,” he said, “I am hopeful that they will come up with a ground rule through dialogue, though not easy, on how to hold a free, fair and credible election.”
“This country is a democracy. To be a democracy there must be a free and fair election. And so, there will be an agreement. I hope it will be now,” he added.
Mozena, who returned to Dhaka yesterday after his routine visit to Washington DC, Capitol Hill, Pentagon, Oregon and New York, where he discussed the pressing issues of Bangladesh, said one of the problems this country is facing is political instability.
He said the people, including the Bangladeshi diaspora he met during his visit, had expressed concern over the political instability in Bangladesh.
About signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) with Bangladesh, Mozena said this would be a forum to identify obstacles and solutions to increase trade and investment between the two countries and hoped that the deal will be signed for the interest of Bangladesh and USA.
Presided over by Press Club President Kamal Uddin Sabuj, the meet-the-press was also addressed by its General Secretary Syed Abdal Ahmed and convenor of seminar and meet-the-press sub-committee Zahirul Alam, among others.
Responding to a query, the US envoy said Washington had no intention to deploy its Seventh Fleet in the Bay of Bengal.
“Is this a joke? How can you get an aircraft carrier to Chittagong…put wheels on it?” he said.
Times Now, an Indian news channel, ran a report titled “US eyes Bangladesh” on May 31 in which it had claimed that the Americans want to use the (Chittagong) port to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.
Mozena said he wanted to go back to teaching profession after his retirement from the Foreign Service and would use the report as an example of misreporting.
“This is a glaring example of how you can use information, disinformation and misinformation and create a story,” he said.
Asked, if Dhaka and Washington would sign any pact during the visit of secretary of US Navy to Bangladesh, the ambassador said he was not aware of it.