US asks Bangladesh to resume TIFA negotiations

All Headline News | January 30, 2007

U.S. Asks Bangladesh To Resume TIFA Negotiations

Siddique Islam - All Headline News South East Asia Correspondent

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) — The United States has asked Bangladesh to re-examine the possibility of restarting negotiations on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between the two countries.

Quoting sources, the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, reported that U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Patricia A. Butenis raised the issue when she called on finance and planning advisor Mirza Azizul Islam at the latter’s secretariat chamber on Sunday.

Negotiations over the TIFA were stalled in 2005 over incorporation of a clause into the preamble of the agreement.

The U.S. government wanted to incorporate the following language into the preamble of the TIFA: "Desiring to promote transparency and to eliminate bribery and corruption in international trade and investment."

But the Bangladeshi government took exception to the inclusion of the new clause, the newspaper reported.

It had pressed hard to replace those words in the last-round negotiation during February 2005, saying that the U.S. might bring charges of bribery and corruption randomly against Bangladesh under the clause in question.

The senior U.S. trade policy adviser for Asia and Pacific, who led the U.S. team during the negotiation, did not make any commitment to make any change in the language of the clause.

Since then there was no development on the TIFA. The issue was shelved after three rounds of negotiations between 2003 and 2005.

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source: AHN