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Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States is Bangladesh’s largest export market. Our countries have signed a bilateral investment treaty, as well as a bilateral treaty for the avoidance of double taxation. In 2017, U.S. direct investment in Bangladesh was $460 million, an increase of 0.4 percent from 2016. Our governments held the fourth annual Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) meeting in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 2018, which highlighted the potential for greater cooperation with Bangladesh. Discussions at the TICFA meeting particularly focused on market access for U.S. cotton, enabling a digital economy, transparency in government procurement, and labor reforms in Bangladesh.

In 2017, the United States exported approximately $1.5 billion in U.S. goods to Bangladesh and imported approximately $5.7 billion worth of goods from Bangladesh U.S. exports to Bangladesh include agricultural products (grains, seeds, soybeans, cotton, wheat, and corn), machinery, and iron and steel products. U.S. imports from Bangladesh include apparel, footwear, and textile products, headgear, and agricultural products. (Source: USTR).

Worker rights and worker safety issues led the United States to suspend the country’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits in June 2013. At the time of the suspension, the United States provided the Bangladesh government with an Action Plan to address worker rights and safety issues as a basis for considering the reinstatement of GSP trade benefits. Since that time, Bangladesh has made important progress in meeting some of the plan’s objectives – especially in inspections, safety and security, and the United States continues to work with the Bangladesh government to ensure further progress on workers’ rights. GSP suspension has had only a minimal immediate impact on bilateral trade since Bangladesh’s primary exports to the United States – textiles and apparel – were not covered under GSP.