May 10, 2015
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A recent survey, conducted by the US-based Pew Research Centre, revealed that Bangladesh has outperformed major developed countries including US, UK, India and China in terms of providing support for the free market system. Among 44 countries, Bangladesh was ranked second only to Vietnam as most pro-capitalist country. Eighty percent, or four in every five, of surveyed people in Bangladesh expressed their support for free markets.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, has hailed Bangladesh’s progress in combating terrorism saying other countries could follow the same path. Besides, the US ambassador in Dhaka has also come up with resounding praises for the country’s efforts to counter violent extremism. “Moderate Bangladesh is a difficult place for transnational terrorists to operate,” said the ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, on Tuesday, while speaking at a conference titled “Countering Violent Extremism in Bangladesh: Phase Zero’ in Hawaii.
International and Regional Cooperation
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India’s upper house of parliament (Rajya Sabha) passed constitution amendment bill on the much-talked-about Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh to settle decades-old boundary disputes between the countries. That victory is another testament to the Awami League led government’s visionary diplomatic policies. The exchange of enclaves will end the decade long hardships of the enclave inhabitants’ and fulfill their major humanitarian needs.
The fourth Bangladesh-US Partnership Dialogue concluded in Dhaka last week with a renewed pledge to work together on issues of both national and global interests and advancing common goals in development, trade, security and regional integration. Meanwhile, the country will soon deliver the second coast guard cutter to Bangladesh. In addition, both countries are working on the process of signing the extradition treaty, a move to repatriate the convicted killer of the father of our nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
New German ambassador to Bangladesh, Thomas Prinz expressed his interest to expand the scopes of investment in Bangladesh. In addition, the newly appointed ambassador also highlighted sectors such as education and public welfare to receive more assistance from his country. Currently, Germany is the largest destination for Bangladesh products in the European countries with $ 4 billion euros earned from exports.
Trade and Investment
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The Digital Investment Summit began in Dhaka with an aim to attract global and local investors in telecom and information communication technology sector. The first of its kind in the country, the summit showcased the prospects of foreign investment in the sector, found ways to attract investment and build Bangladesh as an ICT destination. Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed, ICT affairs adviser to the PM, inaugurated the summit while top officials and representatives from the leading telecom operators and vendors from a number of countries including China and Norway also took part at the programme.
According to a new report, commissioned by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, Bangladesh still remains the first choice for apparel sourcing after China. Currently, Bangladesh is the second largest apparel exporter after China with a 5 percent share in the more than $450 billion global apparel market.
Country’s exports of Knitwear look set to witness a meteoritic rise as the Japanese government offered a duty-free facility for Bangladesh. This new facility will also be applicable for knitwear product even made of imported fabrics, while, in 2011, Japan relaxed its GSP rules of origin 3-stage to 2-stage for knitwear. With intensified diplomatic efforts, the Awami League led government pushed up the country’s readymade garment export to Japan to a staggering $ 572.27 million in the fiscal year 2013-2014, up from $ 74.33 million five years back.
Digital Bangladesh
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Despite the violent political campaigns of BNP, country’s daily average financial transaction through mobile banking has reached a new height. In March, the country witnessed the transaction scaled to the mark of staggering $51 million, proving the Awami League government’s policy an example for the world to follow.
Social Justice and Equity
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The World Bank (WB) will provide $200 million worth of assistance to help improve livelihoods of the poorest population in rural part of the country. The project aims to benefit approximately five million rural poor by providing livelihood support and enabling access to market through business partnerships. In addition, it will raise nutrition awareness, share agricultural knowledge and focus on enhancing youth skills so that they can take advantage of employment opportunities, the World Bank said. It will also fund small scale rural infrastructure.
A separate welfare fund for export-oriented workers was formed in a bid to face any emergency situation and provide them with insurance coverage. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed made the announcement after a meeting with owners of different industrial sectors at the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment. Every exporter will contribute 0.03 percent of his or her total yearly export earning to the fund.
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