Embassy of the United States of America
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Ambassador Earl Miller Meets with The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) Business Leaders
[Assalamu alaiykum, Nomoshkar, shubho aparahna]
Mr. Islam, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh;
Distinguished Members of the AmCham Executive Committee;
Distinguished businessmen and women of Bangladesh;
Distinguished guests and colleagues,
Members of the media,
All protocols observed;
Thank you, Mr. Islam, for your remarks and a very good afternoon to all of you. It is a privilege to join all of you for my first formal address to this Chamber. I look forward to learning about new opportunities for U.S. businesses and how the U.S. Embassy can help address some of the challenges found here in Bangladesh.
The Trump Administration has placed a renewed focus on ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region, an area representing both half of the world’s population and half of global GDP. Our vision for the Indo-Pacific excludes no nation. We seek to partner with all nations that respect national sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law. Our aim is for all nations to live in prosperity, security, and liberty.
The strength of the U.S. private sector is one of our country’s core competitive advantages. I am proud that the United States is the single biggest market for Bangladeshi exports and the largest investor in Bangladesh. U.S. companies are bringing some of the best and most innovative technologies to this country.
U.S. exports to Bangladesh had a banner year in 2017, growing nearly 100 percent since 2013 to reach $1.47 billion, thanks to the success of several U.S. companies. This year our exports are projected to be even higher.
Our two-way trade relationship still remains unbalanced, however, so we have work to do to increase the sales of U.S. goods and services here in Bangladesh. I look forward to discussing additional opportunities for U.S. companies, especially those supporting the development of infrastructure.
I intend to promote U.S. business and help counter unfair trade barriers. Unfair trade barriers manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including high tariffs; unnecessary or arbitrary regulations; biased tendering processes; cumbersome customs procedures; and corruption. These barriers affect not only U.S. businesses but hinder Bangladesh’s own economic growth.
Bangladesh has made great strides on workplace safety in recent years, with the assistance of the Alliance and Accord, but there is still much work to do, especially on labor rights. Promoting proper enforcement of labor rights and worker safety is not only the right thing to do – it is the foundation for free and fair trade.
I am proud many American companies in Bangladesh are model corporate citizens. Your corporate social responsibility programs help Bangladeshis achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
U.S. business does well here. I believe it can do better. The potential in this burgeoning market of more than 160 million consumers is significant. I look forward to working with all of you and our partners in the Bangladesh government to help promote a level playing field and ensure the best U.S. products and services contribute to Bangladesh’s impressive economic journey.