USBAC Policy Priorities:

  • Promote US-Bangladesh Trade

Trade with the United States is an important factor in Bangladesh’s economic
development. Each year, Bangladesh earns more than $4 billion dollars from exports to
the United States. The export industry supports millions of jobs in Bangladesh, many of
which go to women.

Unfortunately, U.S. trade policy towards Bangladesh has remained quite restrictive. Each
year, Bangladesh faces U.S. tariffs in the amount of $650 million, several times the
bilateral aid it receives. If these tariffs were removed, millions more people, especially
women, would find employment in Bangladesh. Bangladesh must also create a forum for
regular dialogue on trade and investment with the United States and attract investment in
sectors that will stimulate the economy.

  • Promote Decent Work Opportunities for Bangladeshis in a Globalized World

Many Bangladeshis, in Bangladesh and overseas are working without rights, voice,
recognition and equality. Work that promotes the freedom, equity, security and human
dignity of workers is central to efforts to reduce poverty, and is a means for achieving
equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.

Bangladesh can promote decent work conditions by undertaking several important
reforms in its domestic  policies. The United States can also safeguard the rights of
Bangladeshis workers through reforms to its trade policies and promoting capacity
building programs. Both countries must also work with the International Labor
Organization and other multilateral organizations to achieve this goal.

  • Address the Impact of Climate Change in Bangladesh

Bangladeshis are tackling climate change at the frontlines. Scientists predict that by 2020,
Bangladesh will have millions of “climate refugees” - people who will be displaced from
their homes due to the rising sea level.

Carbon emissions by the U.S., China, and other industrialized countries are worsening the
problem of climate change. These countries need to limit carbon emissions while at the
same time assist countries like Bangladesh in mitigating the effects of climate change in
real time. This includes funding adaptation projects (in the form of grants, not loans) which
can help Bangladeshis cope with the effects of climate change.

  • Help Bangladesh Benefit from U.S. Foreign Assistance

While Bangladesh has reduced its dependency on foreign aid, the country still needs aid
in critical areas including economic development and health. At a time of fiscal austerity,
the U.S. must take care not to cut support for Bangladesh in areas where critical programs
are helping Bangladeshis address poverty.

The Bangladeshi government must also ensure that foreign assistance funds are used
wisely and transparently and relevant stakeholders are involved in aid decisions.

  • Promote Rule of Law in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has seen severe deficiencies in the rule of law ever since its birth. Breakdown
in the rule of law has come in the way of economic development, social progress and true
democracy. We must hold the new government in Bangladesh to its promise of
establishing rule of law and setting up a fair and effective judiciary.

There also are opportunities for U.S. policies to promote rule of law in Bangladesh. The
U.S. can, when deemed necessary, exercise leverage through economic, trade and
foreign policy, urging Bangladesh to exercise good governance, crack down on human
rights abuses, promote civil liberties, economic rights (especially in the case of minorities)
and maintain law and order.  
Copyright U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council
U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council