September 21, 2021


WASHINGTON, D.C.— On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council hosted a Virtual Business Roundtable with Bangladesh Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina and over 30 senior executives from U.S. and Bangladesh business community.

Highlighting the importance for Bangladesh to have a robust trade and investment relationship with the United States, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced that Bangladesh will offer a special economic zone exclusively for American businesses.

The event was presided over by Jay R. Pryor, Vice President of Business Development at Chevron and the Council’s Chair of Board of Directors, and Nisha Biswal, President, U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council and Senior Vice President - South Asia, International Strategy and Global Initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe that our trade relations can be further strengthened, and we will be obliged to have duty free access and other trade privileges in the US market. We are also ready to commence Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United States at an appropriate time. Bangladesh will also graduate out of LDC status in 2026, and the United States’ support to enhance its global competitiveness and expand its export base will be appreciated,” said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “I am hopeful that the existing two-way trade figure of nine billion U.S. dollars between the two countries will continue to grow. The U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council can play a catalytic role in this regard.”

Jay R. Pryor, Vice President Business Development at Chevron and Board Chair opened the event highlighting, “Improvements in human development, quality of life, life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy and more are all going in a steady pace. In short, Bangladesh is a vibrant and diversified economy with a growth goal of becoming a middle income country. Like any modern growing economy, a supply of reliable, affordable, ever-cleaner energy will play an instrumental role in realizing Bangladesh’s goals. Driving economic opportunity for all is an important step to ensure that development is sustainable and inclusive. Social progress starting with the empowerment of women has also fueled the economic charge of Bangladesh. There is undoubtedly exciting times ahead in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a true Asian success story.”

U.S.-Bangladesh Business President and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Nisha Biswal noted “The U.S.-Bangladesh strategic relationship is a priority for both countries and the growing trade and investment flows have created an opportunity to deepen the economic partnership between the two countries. We know that there is much more that can be done to improve the ease of investing and the ease of doing business but we are bullish on Bangladesh and believe the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council can help advance economic opportunities that benefit the Bangladeshi people and the American people. The Council and our Board reflect a diversity of industries and businesses ranging from energy and finance to digital economy and healthcare and the retail and RMG sectors. We see growth across all segments of the economy as we create a stronger commercial and trade dialogue with the government.”

The roundtable — which coincides with Bangladesh’s 50th anniversary of independence and the inaugural engagement with Prime Minister Hasina of the recently launched Council – also featured the launch of the U.S.-Bangladesh Energy Taskforce, co-chaired by Excelerate Energy and General Electric (GE), which will provide recommendations to both governments on the role the private sector can play to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation and development.

The virtual roundtable - supported by Chevron, Excelerate Energy, General Electric, MetLife and Visa - convened high-level Bangladesh government officials as well as major U.S. and Bangladeshi companies across sectors like energy, financial services, manufacturing, food and beverage, aerospace and defense, agriculture, healthcare, water, and supply chain as well as major Bangladeshi business associations.

About the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council

The U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council is a business advocacy platform built to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties, and advance policy transparency and business reforms on behalf of our members. The Council offers the latest insights on Bangladesh policy and industry-specific developments, engages senior U.S. and Bangladesh government officials, and advocates on commercial priorities. We provide support on strategic advisory, market-entry, business-to-business and business-to-government opportunities.