US pledges energy cooperation | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 31, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

US pledges energy cooperation

US pledges energy cooperation

The US has pledged to work with Bangladesh in cross-border trade and energy cooperation and support regional economic integration and connectivity initiatives.

Recognising Bangladesh's role as a regional leader and seat of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, the United States also agreed to support in the development of the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor.

The US is also interested to extend full cooperation for increased economic participation of women.

The commitments of the support came in a joint statement at the conclusion of the two-day US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue, in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman led their respective delegations at the third edition of the annual conversation. The United States has actively supported Bangladesh's work to promote workers' safety and labour rights, with particular emphasis on the garment sector.

Referring to the October 20 conference on the Bangladesh-EU-US-International Labour Organisation Sustainability Compact, Bangladesh and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to ensuring safe working conditions and protecting workers' rights.

The US acknowledged Bangladesh's progress in establishing a preliminary online database of inspections, working toward improving the capacity and resources of the labour inspectorate, beginning to hire new inspectors, carrying out factory inspections, registering new unions, and dropping cases against labour activists.

At the same time, Dhaka and Washington agreed to continue working together to address outstanding needs to safeguard labour's rights, health and safety.

Both sides also agreed to continue to work on an action plan to help Bangladesh get back the generalised system of preferences benefits.

The United States has supported efforts to boost workers' rights and safety with over $10 million in aid.

USAID plans to announce $5 million in new funding for the sake of the workers. The United States remains committed to supporting Bangladesh's ongoing efforts to combat the trafficking of its citizens, especially in overseas labour markets.

Sherman termed Bangladesh a role model for its significant achievements in socio-economic field, including achievement of MDGs, the foreign ministry said in a statement yesterday, 

On the sidelines of the partnership dialogue, Foreign Secretary Haque met with senior US government officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal and Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Holleyman.

At the meeting, the foreign secretary briefed Biswal about the priorities of the present government in governance, law and order, counter-terrorism, economic stability and labour rights. They also discussed the regional integration and various regional and sub-regional arrangements, including Saarc, BCIM and BIMSTEC.

Bangladesh would continue its leading role in promoting regional integration, Biswal said.

Secretary Haque had a meeting with Deputy USTR Ambassador Robert Holleyman where Assistant USTR Michael J Delaney and representatives from the labour and state departments were also present.


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