Over the last five decades, Bangladesh has quickly transformed to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Expected to grow at 7.2% in 2022, Bangladesh is well-positioned to become the 24th largest economy in the world within 10 years. The United States remains a committed partner to Bangladesh’s growth and resiliency, centered around development and foreign direct investment. To date, the U.S. remains the largest source of foreign direct investment into Bangladesh, and the single largest market for Bangladeshi goods in the world.
One year ago, at an event featuring the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and senior U.S. government officials, along with both U.S. and Bangladeshi corporate executives, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council (USBBC) in recognition of the maturity of the bilateral economic, trade and commercial relations.
The U.S. and Bangladesh business communities are energized by various high-level dialogues and avenues to find more synergy to target an even higher two-way trade, which currently stands at $9 billion. The Inaugural Board Chair and the Board of Directors, on behalf of U.S. industry and the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council, are supportive of stronger economic relations between the two countries – based on open partnership and policy consultation, expanding investments, and finding ways to deepen trade between the two countries.
“Chevron deeply values its relationship with the Prime Minister and the Government of Bangladesh. We appreciate the support that allows Chevron to invest in Bangladesh and contribute to the nation’s energy security. Chevron is entering a new era in Bangladesh as we look to build upon our current partnership with the Government. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead and I look forward to working with the people of Bangladesh towards a shared vision for future growth,” said Chevron VP of Business Development and U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council Inaugural Board Chair Jay R. Pryor
As Bangladesh sits at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, a highly prioritized region for economic connectivity by the Biden-Harris administration, bilateral relations are also centered on common democratic values, free enterprise, resilient supply chains and the prosperity and health of the people of both countries.
This rang especially true throughout the pandemic when Bangladesh shipped over 6 million pieces of personal protective equipment to the U.S. during the first devastating surge of COVID-19. As we configure a steady post-pandemic recovery and increasingly make progress on the global COVID-19 vaccination drive, to date, over 16% of Bangladeshi people have been vaccinated by the 61 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines that the U.S. has donated to Bangladesh through COVAX - the largest donation from the U.S. to any country. The U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council and a coalition of industry leaders, in partnership with Project C.U.R.E., joined this fight by sending shipments of oxygen concentrators, PPE, emergency relief beds and other critical life-saving medical equipment to Bangladesh for medical colleges in the country last year.
The U.S. Chamber and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have also launched a work stream to leverage the technical expertise of the private sector in both countries to continue to tackle the pandemic, close the gap in vaccination, support diagnostics, and support institutional preparedness for the future. We remain critical partners in this fight and are #InThisTogether!
Looking to the future
In celebrating the 50 years of U.S.-Bangladesh relations, we see key areas of collaboration that could be strengthened to deepen energy and power cooperation, partner on Digital Bangladesh 2.0, expand financial inclusion and empowerment of women, support Bangladesh’s transition to a cashless society, and increase trade on agriculture and agribusiness.
As Bangladesh’s middle class grows further and more people are lifted out of poverty as the country’s successful economic model has shown time and time again – its people are now more digitally connected with each other and with the rest of the world. It is time that our collective and collaborative attention focus on Bangladesh’s ambition to become a developed country by 2041, propelled by an “investment-driven” economic growth agenda in the decades to come. We look forward to building on our 50 years of friendship to deepen our collaboration and increase prosperity for both of our countries.