The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday launched the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council, which will focus on advocacy and engagement to strengthen the bilateral commercial partnership.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke at the launching and said the United States has remained a “strong partner in our journey towards democracy and development.”
“It is important that both countries provide adequate policy support to further expand bilateral trade. We are constantly improving our physical, legal and financial infrastructure to facilitate foreign investment,” she said.
“Bangladesh’s sustained economic growth, rapidly expanding domestic market and growing connectivity with a vast regional market of four billion people makes Bangladesh a promising destination for U.S. business and investment. I hope the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council will help expand the economic partnership between our two countries.”
As Bangladesh celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence, the new Council will serve as a platform for American businesses to engage both governments and promote opportunities for business to drive mutually beneficial economic growth, the US embassy in Dhaka said.
U.S. Department of State Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus, U.S. Ambassador Earl Miller and Bangladesh Ambassador in US Shahidul Islam also spoke at the event held virtually.
“The United States is one of Bangladesh’s most important trading partners, and over the past decade we’ve seen an impressive growth trajectory that we are confident will create new opportunities for U.S. companies. Our launch of the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council reflects the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s commitment to advance efforts to deepen trade and investment ties between the two countries. We believe the Council will serve as the premier bridge between business and government leaders in both countries,” said Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Council will be led by Nisha Biswal, President of the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for South Asia, and Sidhanta Mehra, Director of the U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council.
“Under the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has seen tremendous growth and so too has its partnership with the United States,” said Biswal, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs under President Barack Obama.
“The U.S.-Bangladesh business Council will work to strengthen trade and investment between our two countries, promote transparency, inclusion and market-based reforms so that we can ensure that the coming decades continue to build prosperity and opportunity for the people of Bangladesh.”
The Council will be guided by a newly constituted U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council Board of Directors.
“The U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council is a reflection for the need of a dedicated platform to understand and partner with the Bangladesh of the Future,” said Jay R. Pryor, Vice President, Business Development for Chevron and the Inaugural Chair of the Council’s Board of Directors.
Reflecting on Bangladesh’s growth, Pryor noted its future will be “one that is sustainable, helps Bangladesh reach its economic development goals and by doing so, creates a business environment that empowers Bangladeshi women, enables small business growth, and strengthens communities through better access to healthcare, employment, and also energy.”
U.S. and Bangladeshi corporate leaders speaking at the launch event included Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, MetLife Executive Vice President and CFO John F. McCallion, Walmart International President and CEO Judith McKenna, Excelerate Energy President and CEO Steven Kobos, bKash Founder and CEO Kamal Quadir, GE South Asia President Mahesh Palashikar, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Visa Senior Vice President for Global Government Engagement Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, MetLife Senior Vice President for Strategic Growth Markets in Asia Elena Butarova, and ShopUp Co-Founder and CEO AfeefZubaer Zaman.
The U.S.-Bangladesh Business Council Board of Directors includes: Jay R. Pryor, Vice President, Business Development, Chevron & Inaugural Chair; Elena Butarova, Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth Markets – Asia, MetLife; Rafael Frankel, Director of Public Policy, APAC Emerging Countries, Facebook; Steven Kobos, President and Chief Executive Officer, Excelerate Energy; Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Senior Vice President, Global Government Engagement, Visa; Mahesh Palashikar, President, General Electric South Asia; and Kevin Roepke, Head of South Asia, U.S. Soybean Export Council.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization, representing companies of all sizes across every sector of the economy.