May 16, 2014
International and Regional Cooperation
Commonwealth lauds political stability of Bangladesh
China desires to see relations with Bangladesh to reach new heights. Bangladesh stands to benefit immensely from such increased investment, trade and tourism. Recently, 4 agreements were signed under which China would provide technology and investment to make national defense of Bangladesh modernized.
In an effort to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries, Bangladesh’s SAARC neighbor, Srilanka has shown interest in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh with the aim of expanding trade, and increased cooperation in ports and naval affairs.
Bangladesh intends to join the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in its next summit. CICA is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. Turkey has assured Bangladesh of its support in this regard.
Talks are on, for a power distribution network between India and Bangladesh that would allow the former to transmit 6,000MW of hydroelectricity from Assam to Bihar through Dinajpur territory, and in exchange allow the Bangladesh to get a daily minimum of 500 to 1,000 additional MW of power.
The two day US Bangladesh Tech Investment Summit 2014 will start on May 15, 2014 showcasing Bangladesh as the next global IT destination. Scheduled to be held at TIECon 2014, the summit will incorporate 200 participants including IT entrepreneurs and IT professionals. In a related development, Bangladesh is all set to organize the country’s biggest IT exposition “Digital World 2014" to be held from June 4 onwards.
In an effort to ensure the safety and security of people and vessels in the seas, Bangladesh is installing high end maritime systems like GMDSS and the IMNS. The next three years would see seven coastal radio communication stations equipped with high-end lanterns being installed. On a similar note, Bangladesh is set to hold the “MPS Expo 2014”, the second largest commercial marine trade show in South Asia.
Bangladesh is expected to sign an initial treaty by the end of this month with a US consortium for building the country's first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal with capacity to handle 5 million mt of LNG per year. In a related development, a MoU was recently signed between Bangladesh and China to build a 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant. Next fiscal year would also see substantial investment from Japan in the power generation sector, with JICA already expressing its interest to invest $1.2 billion in priority sectors and $3.8 billion loan for coal-based power plants.
RMG and Labour Standards
Despite substantial challenges, Bangladeshi RMG exports grew by 15.38% in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. The first quarter of the current calendar year saw the relevant number rising to 24%. Currently the third largest exporter of RMG in the world, Bangladesh is now eyeing the pole position in the list of world leading RMG manufacturers and/or exporters.
With the recent enactment of Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act 2013, formulation of the Bangladesh Labour Policy 2012, and a host of other recent initiatives from the government as well as development partners such as ILO and EU, workers in Bangladesh are now receiving higher wages, increased maternity leave, ability to join trade unions of their choice and a number of other benefits such as increased safety in workplaces.
Bangladesh Awami League