December 11, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

US-Bangladesh Business Council wants better bilateral economic ties

The US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Bangladesh Business Council recently led an executive delegation to Dhaka to discuss strengthening the two countries’ economic relations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and senior members of the Bangladesh government.

The executive delegation, who were on a four-day visit from May 8-11, was led by the council’s board chair, Jay R Pryor, who is also the vice president of Chevron’s Business Development, and had Visa and Excelerate Energy as corporate partners, said a press release.

The council’s full board of directors and more than 30 US company industry leaders from a diversity of sectors of cooperation also joined the delegation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said to the delegation: “It is our time now! Take your time taking opportunities of our conducive investment environment. Bangladesh has been recommended to graduate from the LDC in 2026. We are aspiring to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041. 

“For that purpose, we need enhanced investment from our friendly countries, especially from the US. With strong prospects, I will now assure you of the best possible policy framework to ease our business and investment climate. I wish every success to the US-Bangladesh Business Council.” 

Celebrating 50 years of US-Bangladesh relations and the importance of this partnership-building delegation, Jay R Pryor said: “Productive, predictable and constructive relations between the US and Bangladesh are essential for US-based companies to operate in Bangladesh and set the stage for an ‘investment and trade-driven’ economic strategy for the next 50 years of partnership.

“The council works to strengthen trade and investment, promote transparency, and inclusion in market-based reforms so that coming decades continue to build prosperity and opportunity for the people of Bangladesh.”

Given the critical success and continuity of “Digital Bangladesh”, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the council’s Digital Economy Taskforce, to be co-chaired by Meta and Visa. It will focus on the future of digital connectivity in Bangladesh’s economic growth, read the press release.

The council also gave the prime minister an update on the US-Bangladesh Energy Taskforce, co-chaired by Excelerate Energy and General Electric, on key recommendations from energy industry leaders on how to enhance cooperation and development across Bangladesh’s energy transition. 

At the highest levels, the delegation raised the support needed for incumbent investors and identified areas for future business development and partnership.

The delegation started its visit with a high-level meeting with the new US ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter D Haas, and leadership from the US Embassy and USAID. 

The delegation also met with Prime Minister’s Private Sector and Investment Advisor Salman F Rahman, Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Transport Minister Obaidul Quader, among others.

The delegation visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay its respects to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as the Liberation War Museum.

“The delegation’s visit, joined by senior US industry leaders, is a reflection of the powerful partnership US industry is committed to building with Bangladesh. We are grateful for the warm hospitality of the Bangladeshi people. 

The council is dedicated to its mission to be a catalyst to support the bilateral economic relationship and provide the business community a platform to lead on advocacy that promotes transparency, predictable and consultative policy making that encourages expanded trade and investment opportunities for US companies in Bangladesh,” said Sidhanta Mehra, director of the US-Bangladesh Business Council.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s apex trade body, hosted the delegation for the first “US-Bangladesh Business Summit” bringing together heads of all major Bangladesh business associations. 

The FBCCI and the US-Bangladesh Business Council also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to take on concrete action to support advancing business relations between the countries.

The US-Bangladesh Business Council, in partnership with HSBC Bangladesh, hosted an event titled “US-Bangladesh Economic Forum: Building on 50 Years of Relations” to highlight ways in which the two countries have prioritized a constructive and productive commercial relationship that has the potential for setting up the foundation for the next 50 years of growth. 

US Ambassador Peter D Haas said: “The US is willing to go as fast as Bangladesh is, to deepen our partnership. And I also believe we can go fastest together in building our trade and investment relationship. The US-Bangladesh business delegation in Dhaka right now demonstrates just how ready the US private sector is to invest in Bangladesh.” 

The forum closed with special remarks from Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, who said Bangladesh is making significant progress across social and economic indicators and is becoming globally competitive to attract foreign direct investment. 

The Delegation ended its visit by meeting with over 30 Bangladeshi startups and partners at the Edward M Kennedy Center to ensure US companies are well connected to the talented youth and entrepreneurs of Bangladesh, who are building state-of-the-art solutions across fintech, agriculture, water, food security, professional services, supporting Bangladesh’s transition to a developed economy by 2041. 

The US delegates were able to share their experience in access to finance and angel investing, ideas to capture different segments of an emerging economy, providing access to secure platforms to build new products and services, and partnerships with the private sector to co-create products and solutions.