Dhaka Tribune: Congressional Bangladesh Caucus eyes strengthening Dhaka-Washington ties

Newly inaugurated Congressional Bangladesh Caucus will promote “continued good relations” between Bangladesh and the United States.

“We look forward to strengthening the United States-Bangladesh relationship on the basis of our shared democratic values to address major issues, including climate change, human rights, and humanitarian challenges,” said Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina in the House of Representatives who joined with his colleagues – Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Dwight Evans and Steve Chabot as a co-chair of the Congressional Bangladesh Caucus.

Caucus Members will receive periodic updates on bilateral relationship, joint efforts to combat terrorism and promote human rights, as well as opportunities for high-level visits between the two countries, including with Ambassador M Shahidul Islam as they work to “strengthen” their relationship.

Wilson, joining with his colleagues on August 16, said the people of Bangladesh are well represented by Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA M Shahidul Islam.

The Caucus was established, in part, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and the United States, which began in 1972, soon after Bangladesh secured its independence from Pakistan.

“The United States has been a longstanding partner in Bangladesh’s journey to economic development and democratic institution building since that time,” Wilson said.

During the last 50 years, Bangladesh has made significant socio-economic progress, including increased food production, disaster management capacity building, poverty alleviation, improved health and education, and women’s empowerment, he mentioned.

For more than a decade, Wilson said, Bangladesh has remained one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and its economic growth is not only benefiting its own people, but is also contributing to the peace, progress, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region.

Significantly, no other country in the world commits more forces to United Nations Peacekeeping, he said.

Bangladesh has a per capita income higher than its neighbors in South Asia and the United States is one of Bangladesh’s most important trading partners, with approximately 19-20% of its exports destined for the United States, Wilson said.

Also, bilateral trade between the United States and Bangladesh was over $10 billion in 2021.

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are over 200,000 people of Bangladeshi origin living in America.

Promoting educational exchanges between Bangladesh and the United States benefits both nations, and with approximately 10,000 students from Bangladesh studying in the United States, the country places eighth in the World in this category, Wilson said.