There is no progress in signing of the much-talked-about Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) that the cabinet approved on June 17 last as the Commerce Ministry says ‘a mystery’ has shrouded the issue.
“There’s no update yet. A mystery has been created, apparently,” Commerce Minister GM Quader told at his office yesterday.
He said Bangladesh could have been benefited much had Ticfa been signed and in their (US) views, they just wanted to help Bangladesh through signing the deal.
Meanwhile, a senior official at the Commerce Ministry said the Commerce Minister wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni requesting her to take necessary steps for signing the proposed Ticfa.
“The Commerce Minister also explained the benefits of signing Ticfa with the USA in his two-page letter,” the official said preferring anonymity.
He also said there has been no reply from the Foreign Ministry so far as the Foreign Minister is personally against it as the election gets closer because it could become an election issue.
In his letter to Dipu, GM Quader said, “There’s no platform between Bangladesh and the USA for discussing issues relating to trade interest. If Ticfa is signed, it’ll help create scope to discuss issues like ongoing activities, achieved successes and plan for future.”
“I (Quader) think it’ll help create scope for reviving the suspended GSP facility by the US administration,” the Commerce Minister wrote in his letter dated August 7.
Sources said the Foreign Minister had discussion with the Prime Minister regarding the matter and the Prime Minister did not give green signal yet.
Another official at the Commerce Ministry said the envoy of the country concerned wrote a letter to the Commerce Minister inviting him to attend a meeting that New York University Stern Center is hosting next month to assess how best the various stakeholders in Bangladesh apparel sector can work together.
“If you’re able to attend, I would suggest that you add a stop in Washington to sign the Ticfa, which thanks to your tenacious support, is now ready for signature. Given your leading role in the success of these negotiations, I hope that you would be able to sign the agreement,” the letter mentioned.
Asked, GM Quader said he has accepted the invitation and will join the meeting.
On June 22, Dipu Moni in parliament said there is no possibility of affecting national security following signing of the much-talked-about Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) with the USA.
She also mentioned that since the main objective of Ticfa agreement is to bolster trade and investment cooperation between Bangladesh and the US, there is no possibility of hampering national security.
On July 22, US Ambassador Dan Mozena met Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at the Foreign Ministry and told reporters that Ticfa between Bangladesh and the USA is likely to be signed within the next few weeks, aiming to boost bilateral trade and investment.
No progress in signing Ticfa with USA