Dhaka wants pie of Washington’s $60b fund

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 07:30, Jan 12, 2019 | Updated : 13:17, Jan 13, 2019

Dhaka finds it an opportunity to intensify economic cooperation with Washington as the US has set up International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) with $60 billion fund.
The fund will provide investment in low and lower-middle income countries through the private sector and Bangladesh can be a beneficiary due to impressive growth track record, said a foreign ministry official.
“Bangladesh has US investment but we want more and in the diversified field,” he said.
The major portion of the investment from the North American is concentrated in the energy sector and there is an opportunity to tap US companies to do business in Bangladesh through IDFC, he said.
IDFC was created under the BUILD Act and it will help US private sector to find out the potential market in the developing world, provide investment, insurance or reinsurance and technical assistance.
The BUILD Act was introduced in 2018 in the Senate and House with support from both – Democrat and Republican – and it was passed in October.
Another official said we will discuss future cooperation from IDFC in the upcoming meeting between Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and US State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale.
“If the US side is interested we can offer them an exclusive economic zone where they can set up their own industries and produce goods,” he said.
Bangladesh has offered such type of exclusive zone to many countries including China, Japan and India and we are interested to have a negotiation on this issue with Washington, he added.
The US is the single biggest export market for Bangladeshi products and according to the US Census, the bilateral trade during Jan-Oct period of the last year stood at $7.8 billion.
During the period, Bangladesh exported $5.2 billion worth of goods while imported $1.6 billion worth of products.