US focuses on balancing trade with Bangladesh, finds industries role in defence sector

The new US administration is now focused on exporting more to balance the trade that tilts heavily in favour of Bangladesh and sees its role in all sectors including defence and security.

Nurul Islam
Published : 1 March 2018, 03:51 PM
Updated : 1 March 2018, 04:01 PM

Regional Manager from the US Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center Malcolm Burke told American technology and materials can play a role in keeping Bangladeshi peacekeepers safe.

He said the US industries also want to be part of the China’s 'one-belt, one-road' initiative to help countries avoid future “embarrassment”.

“US exporters are keenly interested in the Bangladesh market, across all industries,” he said, as he came to Dhaka to attend the 25th US trade show that began on Thursday.

“In the defence and security sector, there are numerous opportunities for American firms to provide their peerless technology to support Bangladesh’s security, and its renowned peace-keeping activities.”

Referring to the reports of four Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers getting killed in an explosion in central Mali, he said, “US technology and materials can play an important part in keeping Bangladeshi soldiers safe, while they help keep peace.”

“In this way and others, I see great opportunity for US industry in Bangladesh and look forward to a growing commercial relationship in the years to come," Burke added.

The new US administration is focusing on businesses across the world as President Donald Trump came to power with his slogan ‘making America great again.’

Burke’s role is to help US companies export to markets in South and Southeast Asia.

The two-way trade crossed $7 billion mark which is mostly Bangladesh’s exports of apparel products.

“The strength of apparel market will remain the same. But we like to see more GE investment in the power sector [in Bangladesh], more LNG investment in powering Bangladesh’s economy and even in areas like satellite technology and defence sector.”

The regional manager said in Washington they are looking at market to see the US position in terms of balance of trade and “what are the opportunities of the US industries that may have been overlooked, may continue to be overlooked for whatever reason and exploit the opportunities to balance the trade".

“It’s win-win,” he said, because with this “we are ready to provide what you need.”

About the China’s one belt, one road initiative with which Beijing is investing in the region, he said the initiative is “understandably attractive, and could, in fact, provide certain economic benefit to participating nations.”

“However, if those nations wish to avoid potential future embarrassment, they should consider a “belt and suspenders” approach to their sovereign infrastructure, by including US industry, among other players, in their development,” he said.

“Belt and suspenders” is a folksy US term used to describe a redundant system - one that nearly guarantees a person’s pants won’t fall down.

For instance, he said, American LNG can certainly play a role in the mix in securing energy supply for Bangladesh’s future.

“Not just to go with Chinese and Indian solutions and make Bangladesh potentially vulnerable, but to broaden your energy mix.”

He met the state minister for energy, spoke about the issues and learnt that Bangladesh is also focusing on other avenues of power such as nuclear and solar.

“I am just here to remind Bangladesh and to encourage your industry that the US industry is there too and can provide both technology and fuel for that sector,” Burke concluded.