Ambassador Marcia Bernicat’s Remarks at Beximco Pharma on August 4, 2016

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Honorable Finance Minister Abul Maal Muhith;

Honorable Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim;

Vice Chairman Salman Rahman, Managing Director Nazmul Hassan, and Chief Information Officer Rabbur Reza of Beximco;

Distinguished guests and members of the media,

Assalamu alaiykum and a very good afternoon to all of you. Today I have had a truly enlightening and impressive visit to the Beximco Pharmaceuticals plant in Tongi and I am excited to be able to mark this momentous occasion with all of you.

I would like to start by thanking our hosts, Salman Rahman, Nazmul Hassan and Rabbur Reza from the dynamic Beximxo Group and Beximco Pharma.

Receiving approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration is a long and rigorous process. It is the FDA’s job to uphold the highest standards and to protect American consumers. It is a testament to Beximco’s hard work — as well as the quality of their products — that Bangladesh is able to celebrate the occasion of exporting the first FDA-approved drug to the United States.

I would also like to thank Honorable Ministers Muhith and Nasim for their attendance and I look forward to hearing their perspectives.

I have visited several factories in Bangladesh but this visit was truly special because it heralds the future of Bangladesh’s economy and its exports. Beximco Pharma’s manufacturing plant has state-of-the-art technologies, world class equipment, and highly trained professionals.

For Bangladesh to meet the goal of becoming a middle income country, it is crucial for the country to diversify its economy and move up the value-added chain. Manufacturing plants like this one and others across Bangladesh are key to meeting this goal.

The pharmaceutical industry is arguably the most knowledge and technologically intensive export industry in Bangladesh. However, the industry still only accounts for 1 percent of GDP.

I look forward to seeing pharma’s contribution to the national economy grow, and to seeing other knowledge and technologically intensive industries grow.

Today we celebrate a huge success. In order to continue to move forward there is still work needed to improve the business environment for businesses like Beximco to further entice foreign investors to bring their capital and technology to Bangladesh. Bangladesh must continue to lay the groundwork for sectors like pharmaceuticals to thrive. The protection of intellectual property, for example, is critical for the growth of a robust pharmaceutical industry.

The government must also work to reassure foreign investors that it is taking all appropriate measures to ensure the security of their factories and personnel in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Bangladesh. This includes clear, authoritative messaging from the government when attacks occur to reassure the public, and the government’s unambiguous and undivided attention on defeating this new form of terrorism. A safe and stable Bangladesh is crucial to attracting further investment and continuing economic growth to reach middle income status.

Today is a reminder that Bangladesh is a resilient country and that the path forward for a secure future will include the mechanism this country has relied on successfully in past times of crisis — government, civil society, and the private sector all working together.   On that regard, I am pleased to see Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam’s comments that all parties will be included in the anti-militancy committees.

Today is also about trade between two partners, and this new trade relationship is a strong vote by my country for the successful economic future of Bangladesh. The United States remains Bangladesh’s largest trading partner and we must all work together to continue growing our two-way trade over the coming years.

However, the real winners of the growth in two-way trade between the United States and Bangladesh are our consumers. The average Bangladeshi citizen benefits when he can purchase American-grown wheat or flies in a U.S.-made plane. And the U.S. citizen is better off when he can wear a high-quality shirt made in Bangladesh or eat shrimp caught in Bangladesh.

I am especially proud that U.S. consumers will now be able to take a life-saving drug and see “Made in Bangladesh” on the bottle.

Thank you again for welcoming me here today and my very best wishes for Beximco’s continued success in the future.

In Bangla (PDF 356 KB)