Bangladeshi exporters are dynamic, says Momen underplaying worry about US labour policy
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said there is nothing to worry about the "Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally” as Bangladeshi products get access to the US market due to its quality, competitive price and on time delivery.
"Bangladeshi exporters are very "smart and dynamic. I have faith on our dynamic private sector. There is nothing to worry about it," he said while talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Momen said the US is a major market for the RMG export and it is the private sector that exports and it is the US private sector that buys Bangladeshi products.
"They buy our products because our products are high quality and price is cheap and delivery is made on time," he said, adding that even you will find many Chinese products in the US stores.
It is worth noting that the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC has said the political context of the US “Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally” has many reasons “to be alarmed.”
“Politics is behind what is said about labor rights in the memorandum, and the US would try to use the political purpose in different ways,” said the embassy in a letter based on observation it made on the recently launched US initiative.
The US Presidential Memorandum was rolled out on November 16.
The United States said it will work to “hold accountable those who threaten, intimidate, attack union leaders, labor rights defenders, labor organizations – including using things like sanctions, trade penalties and visa restrictions” – all the tools in their kit.
The “memorandum” is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure as described in it with the excuse of labor issues, the letter from Bangladesh embassy in Washington, seen by UNB, reads. “The memorandum may also have an impact on Bangladesh’s apparel sector, and it should be taken into cognizance with priority by the concerned stakeholders,” it said.
The foreign minister said they will definitely welcome if the US takes initiatives for the whole labour sector.
"If they take a good policy that would be a great initiative. I hope the US being such a rich country will take good initiatives on climate and migration fronts," Momen said.
"If the US comes up with good programs, we will definitely welcome it," he said, adding that Bangladesh wants to see all workers are leading a good life.
Asked about the letter written by the Bangladesh Embassy to Commerce Ministry, Momen said he does not know about the letter and noted that there is lack of patriotism among some people.
He said Bangladesh does not want to see any efforts that hinder the development journey of Bangladesh.
Asked about Thursday’s Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen's meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas, the Foreign Minister said it is routine meeting after his return from vacation.
"We are happy that he has returned. Nothing new. Just a routine meeting.
Ambassador Haas had a meeting with the foreign secretary at State Guesthouse Padma on Thursday morning and discussed ongoing developments in bilateral relations.
"Ambassador Haas and FS Momen had a routine meeting to discuss ongoing developments in the bilateral relationship," said the US Embassy in Dhaka after the meeting.
The meeting began around 11 am and lasted 30 minutes.
Bangladesh Ambassador to USA Muhammad Imran was also present at the meeting.
The ambassador and the foreign secretary did not talk to the reporters who were waiting outside the meeting venue.
Haas returned to Dhaka on Monday after a vacation.