Indo-Pacific Forum

BD seeks US investments in energy sector

We want to strike a balance in our relations with the USA and China. Both are our friends: FM

FE Report | Published: April 13, 2019 09:29:00 | Updated: April 18, 2019 15:36:07

Bangladesh has sought US investment, especially in the energy sector under the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

The Forum is seen as a counter mechanism to China's much-hyped Belt and Road (BR) initiative.

The US has concerns about the BRI, but Bangladesh wants to be associated with both, foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said.

The minister was talking with reporters about his US trip Friday.

The foreign minister returned home Thursday.

About his meeting with the US secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister said during the meeting he urged the US Secretary of State to invest in Bangladesh's energy sector under the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

“We have huge energy resources in the offshore. I told him that the US companies can take the opportunity to explore energy from the sea," the minister said.

"We want to strike a balance in our relations with the USA and China. Both are our friends," the minister said when asked whether Bangladesh has any preference.

The foreign minister also proposed the US to offer duty-free access to the readymade garments products of Bangladesh, which will use US cotton.

Thus the cotton export to Bangladesh will be increased and simultaneously Bangladesh's RMG sector will benefit, he explained.

The US Secretary of State liked the idea and said that he would discuss the issue with the people concerned.

Dr Momen said during his meeting with senior US officials they did not raise the issue of human rights or election.

It proves that these issues are popular with the media in Bangladesh, he said, adding, "I have not found any concerns about these issues during my meeting with the top US officials."

Dr Momen also said he had urged the US authorities to send back Bangbandhu killer Rashed Chowdhury so that Bangladesh can implement the court verdict.

"I told them that when a US convicted citizen stays in other countries, the US leaves no stone unturned to get that person back to home to implement the court verdict. So the US should understand our sentiment and obligation also".

He told me that the issue lies with the Justice Department and suggested apprising that department of this issue, Dr Momen noted.

"The US officials also requested us to buy military hardware from their country. I told them that we have no particular leaning to any country in this regard. But I suggested them reduce the price of spare parts of their military hardware as these are very expensive."

The US also pledged its full backing to resolve the Rohingya crisis, the foreign minister said.

About his meeting with the visiting Bhutanese Prime Minister in the afternoon, Dr Momen said that this visit is crucial to taking the bilateral relations between the two countries to a new height.

"We are going to sign an agreement to enhance better connectivity and boost cooperation in tourism and health sector," he said.

He said the Bhutanese Prime Minister is positive about the BBIN motor vehicle network.

"I proposed him to allow the operation on a controlled scale as they have concerned over pollution. He said that a committee will study the pros and cons of the issue and then they will take a decision," he added.


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