Mangalorean | 19 February 2010
US offers Dhaka alternative to controversial trade tie
Dhaka, Feb 19 (IANS) — The US has offered Bangladesh an alternative forum to the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) about which the latter has shown reluctance in the past.
"While we remain interested in this proposal (TIFA), an alternative could be a US-Bangladesh Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum," US Ambassador James F. Moriarty said Thursday.
A TIFA with the US and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) proposed by India have met political opposition from different quarters in Bangladesh.
Moriarty mooted the alternative while opening the 19th US Trade Show here with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni present as chief guest.
He outlined a range of areas, including export, import, agricultural development and food security which had the potential to strengthen Bangladesh-US economic relation.
He cited great potential for the US and Bangladesh to partner in initiatives in agriculture and food security sectors to increase productivity, technical innovation, trade and agri-business.
"A formal structure to discuss these issues at a high level on a regular basis would be useful. One way to such a forum would be to sign a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement," the ambassador said.
"Both options would create a mechanism for regular, high-level dialogue where each side could raise issues related to bilateral trade and investment," Moriarty was quoted as saying.
New Age newspaper quoted Moni as saying: "Further discussions could take place on TIFA and other similar proposals."