The United States has asked Bangladesh to introduce Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the readymade garment (RMG) industry and sign the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) to have better industrial and business environment in the country.On the other hand, Dhaka has sought duty and quota-free market access for its apparels in the US market.
The proposals and demands were tabled on the first day of the second Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Dialogue will conclude today (Monday) with a joint briefing, meeting sources said.
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman led the US delegation while Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque the home side to the dialogue.
Three sessions were held under the platform of the Partnership Dialogue. These focused trade and
investment, security cooperation and development and governance.
Other issues like labour standards compliance, labour law reform and Bangladesh-US cooperation in energy sector were discussed at the meeting.
Higher studies in the US, women's empowerment, non-traditional security issues, including food security, healthcare, climate change, maritime cooperation and migration were also discussed at the meeting.
"The discussion also highlighted counter-terrorism cooperation, security assistance, cooperation in the United Nations peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance," a Foreign Ministry official said.
The ongoing political turmoil affecting business and economy and the next poll-time government are likely to figure prominently on the concluding day of the dialogue, he added.
The 'US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue' in Dhaka is the second of its kind that is taking place after the first dialogue held in Washington in September last year.
The Partnership Dialogue was established under an agreement signed by the two countries in May last year. It is intended to institutionalise the ongoing partnership in a broader perspective covering trade, development, counter-terrorism and security aspects.
"The US side stressed the importance of introducing CSR in the clothing factory, trade unions and enforcement of compliance in all garment factories in the country," the senior Foreign Ministry official, who attended the meeting, told the FE.
"We assured the US that Dhaka is serious about establishing proper and globally accepted labour standards in the clothing industry."