The United States wants Bangladesh in a new economic zone called the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. That is why they have proposed to Bangladesh.
The Biden administration has initiated this agreement with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region in the strategic interest.
The United States has proposed nine countries to join the framework in the first phase and three countries, including Bangladesh, in the second phase.
Washington may raise the issue at the Foreign Minister level meeting between Bangladesh and the United States today. Foreign Minister to discuss various aspects of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ake Abdul Momen has visited the United States.
He will have a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken today. At the meeting, Bangladesh may request to lift the ban against RAB. The United States may want to know the progress of signing two proposed military agreements – Axa and Gisomia.
Indo-Pacific Economic Frackwork may also be discussed. In addition, Bangladesh could be satisfied that the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution on humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. At the same time, the United States may seek Bangladesh’s position against future Russian aggression.
In the first instance, the Biden administration seeks to launch an economic bloc comprising the United States, India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.
In the second phase, Thailand, Philippines and Bangladesh have also been offered to join the framework. The work of formulating the framework is still going on. Many see this as an attempt to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US-led Quad alliance has already been formed to counter China’s military influence. Although the quad includes Japan, Australia and India, many countries do not want to join such a military alliance.
Although China has strongly warned against joining the quad, it has said nothing about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
According to sources, China is closely monitoring the economic zone. China may respond after the United States announces the framework of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
Bangladesh has some policy positions on the US Indo-Pacific Strategy. First of all, Bangladesh does not join the alliance formed against any country. Bangladesh also has objections to the military involvement in the Indo-Pacific strategy.
For this reason, Bangladesh will not join the quad. However, Bangladesh has no objection to economic cooperation. As a result, in terms of joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework from a policy point of view, the consideration of Bangladesh is how much it will benefit Bangladesh through this belt.
In today’s meeting, if you want to know the opinion of Bangladesh on behalf of the United States, Bangladesh will ask for detailed information about the framework. Bangladesh has set some considerations regarding the proposed framework of the United States.
According to sources, only Bangladesh will participate in the four components of the framework in which the interests of Bangladesh are involved. Bangladesh alone will not be a tool in implementing US policies and goals.
The source further said that even if Bangladesh wants free trade, it will seek priority trade facilities in this framework. In particular, Dhaka will insist on opening up more market facilities in the United States for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has joined a similar initiative called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) led by China. BRI has given huge loans for various infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.
Recently, the Foreign Minister. Ake Abdul Momen said, ‘To improve the living standards of the people of Bangladesh, a lot of funding is needed in various sectors including infrastructure. China appeared with a basket of money. What should we do now? ‘
The Foreign Minister has indicated that Bangladesh needs Western finance, trade and investment to improve the living standards of the people. But there is no flow of money like demand.
In October 2021, US President Joe Biden announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework as a means of strengthening US relations in the Asian region.
However, effective discussions on this new economic zone have not yet begun. The United States initially briefed Bangladesh on this framework.
After several years of negotiations, in 2016 the United States signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 12 countries. But when President Trump pulls out of that deal, other countries make a deal with the United States.
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework was initiated in the wake of pressure from Biden to rejoin Asia on economic and trade issues after coming to power.
In the field of trade, the Biden administration has included in the new framework issues ranging from TPP to labor quality development, sustainable environment, cooperation in the digital economy.
It also includes sustainable food and science-based farming rules, transparency and healthy practices, competition policy, and trade support.
In addition, the Biden administration has re-incorporated supply chains, infrastructure, carbon-free clean energy, taxes and anti-corruption measures.
The Biden administration has also announced that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will be the US trade policy for the Asian region.
Although the Indo-Pacific Framework has been highlighted in the partnership dialogue between Bangladesh and the United States, the United States may raise the issue again at the Foreign Minister level meeting.
In this case, Bangladesh may offer to discuss the issue in the upcoming economic dialogue between the two countries. Bangladesh-US economic dialogue is scheduled for June.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh-US Defense and Security Dialogue will be held on April 8 in the United States immediately after the Foreign Minister level meeting.