Bangladesh requested the USA to provide duty free market access for Bangladeshi garment products for two years as the industry is bearing the brunt of the cancellation of orders by US buyers.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen made the request to US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo on Monday evening during their conversation over phone, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.
They discussed issues related to Covid pandemic, rohingya crisis and mutual economic cooperation.
The US secretary of State stressed the need for transparency and access to information for long-term economic stability and sustainable development of Bangladesh.
Mr Pompeo also reaffirmed the importance of the US-Bangladesh relationship and discuss continued cooperation of the US to Bangladesh to address the COVID-19 pandemic, said a statement of the US Embassy.
Mr Pompeo and Foreign Minister Momen reviewed the more than $43 million in COVID-19 assistance that the United States has provided so far to Bangladesh and discussed Bangladesh’s critical role in the international response to the pandemic by manufacturing emergency medical and protective supplies.
The Secretary of State commended Foreign Minister Momen for Bangladesh’s continued generosity in hosting Rohingya refugees.
The United States has contributed nearly $820 million in humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya crisis, most of which is for programs within Bangladesh.
The two leaders renewed commitments to support the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Burma, the US statement added.
Foreign ministry officials said, Dr Momen, however, urged the US to invest more in the health sector of Bangladesh under the IDFC fund.
He also pointed out that US investors can invest in the economic zones of Bangladesh to get the benefit of the cheap labour and skilled manpower.
On the issue of the Rohingya crisis, the minister told the US Secretary of State that Myanmar’s failure to implement the repatriation agreement causing huge sufferings for Bangladesh.
He also expressed deep concern over the fresh crackdown against Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Dr Momen requested the US government to take due measures so that Rashed Chowdhury, fugitive killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujber Rahman, can be brought back from the USA to home to implement the court verdict.