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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Friday, November 9, 2012


President Obama's second term

What it means for Bangladesh

In many respects, the euphoria of the democratic win in Washington was reflected in Dhaka. There exist several dimensions to relations between the two countries and opinions vary widely on change, if any, will come out of the newly re-elected government of President Obama. Of the several sticking points that remain unsolved, the most prominent from Bangladesh perspective is of course, duty-free access of readymade garments (RMG) to the United States.

With forecasts of income tax cuts in the offing for American middleclass resulting in higher disposable income for this important segment of the population could indeed prove a boon for our RMG sector. Again one must put this in perspective since US policy is particularly sensitive to labour and human rights. These are issues that will have to be dealt with and resolved amicably.

Although the newly re-elected President remains committed to programmes such as Feed the Future, Global Health and Food Security Initiative, that can go a long way in assuring food security for countries such as Bangladesh, the flipside to gaining access and deepening relations depend on us resolving unresolved issues. In a sense, for Bangladesh to take advantage of what is on offer revolves around our ability to address issues that are important to our most important bilateral partner. Again, as stated before, it would be unwise to expect radical shifts in foreign policy of the United States. With that premise in mind, it is largely up to us to work towards improving our track record on governance and civil liberties, for at the end of the day, bilateral relations is all about give and take.

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It means nothing for Bangladesh in general other than some concession for the RMG sectors. Our country is too small an economy and so insignificant to the most powerful nation on earth. We lacks in every front as our politicians & bureaucrats portrayed a very negative picture overall. A green card is often enough to buy their loyalty. We must do things of our own by educating our general mass and a trained work force. We must not beg for anything, but rather earn respectable position in their eyes by elevating ourselves in every respect.

However in one particular area- being a predominantly Muslim country and having a geophysical strategic position in Bay of Bengal where a new station for seventh fleet may be planning to a have a harbor for their powerful nuclear submarine to keep an eye on the Andaman Sea & Nicober Island and more interestingly Gulf of Martaban along the coastline of Myanmar where a big Chinese submarine base is underway of construction…this make much more sense. But we must play our card well and lay the game option visible to our opponents. This requires efficiency, moral & political courage and huge political leadership. This alone can make us agame player in int'l arena.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee

Our Government needs to start with damage control they have caused by the Dr. Yunus and the Padma Bridge debacles to improve the relationship with US.

: Rezwan Rashid





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