The importance of Dhaka is growing in the eyes of Washington as Bangladesh-US relationship has entered a new era when it is trying to shape up its future relationship through a partnership dialogue that has ended in the Washington. The growing relationship manifested as Dhaka is the partner of all four global initiatives of President Obama.
Foreign secretary Miajrul Quayes recently said Washington now considers Bangladesh as an important regular partner and it wants to discuss many things and that’s why US signed Partnership Dialogue agreement with Bangladesh to have formal annual meeting at high level. The objective of the dialogue is to formulate the action plan of future strategic direction of the countries. Bangladesh with a population of 150 million is a moderate democratic Muslim country with an annual export to US of about $5 billion and it is the second biggest readymade garment exporter to the US. Bangladesh is also the biggest recipient of US investment mostly in the energy sector. Food security in Bangladesh is another area where Washington has immense interest. In other words, Bangladesh is a success model what US can portray in the international forum.
US also wants Bangladesh to award blocks in the Bay of Bengal to its company ConocoPhilips. The US-based energy company has already got two blocks in the Bay and sent a letter to the government to award it another six blocks.
Trade, development, security and energy cooperation are the major areas where both the countries are working to have a predictable relationship. Bangladesh wants to have duty-free quota-free access to the US market and continuation of Generalised System of Preference (GSP) while Washington is pressing for signing Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TICFA). US also wants Bangladesh to award blocks in the Bay of Bengal to its company ConocoPhilips. The US-based energy company has already got two blocks in the Bay and sent a letter to the government to award it another six blocks.
Women empowerment, strengthening democracy, vibrant role of media and civil society are the major issues in the development area while terrorism, counter-terrorism, piracy and humanitarian assistance and disaster response are main focus in security area. The dialogue will be the foundation stone of the new and more engaged relationship between the two countries. In any partnership there must be a space in a mature partnership where convergence and dissonance – both are accommodated. The better US understand that the better it is for the relationship.