Ticfa to be signed today in Washington

The much-hyped deal — Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) — will be signed today in Washington, which the government thinks will help expand trade and investment between Bangladesh and the USA through enhanced cooperation.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, now in the USA, confirmed UNB through a text message on Sunday saying Ticfa will be signed at 10am (Washington time) on November 25.

Acting Deputy United States Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed will sign Ticfa on behalf of their respective sides, reports UNB.

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman will make brief remarks and preside over the signing of the United States-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa).

US-bdTicfa provides an important mechanism for the United States and Bangladesh to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues as well as a forum to pursue cooperative activities, according to the USTR.

Meanwhile, the first meeting under Ticfa is likely to be held on Monday soon after the signing of the deal.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed will lead the Bangladesh delegation, if the meeting is held on the same day, diplomatic sources said. According to Ticfa, the meeting would be held once a year.

On Friday, new Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali said Dhaka and Washington will sign the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) as the decision was taken earlier in principle. “It (Ticfa signing) has to be done because a decision had been taken in this regard earlier.”

On June 22, former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni in parliament said there is no possibility of affecting national security following signing of Ticfa with the USA.

She also mentioned that since the main objective of Ticfa agreement is to bolster trade and investment cooperation between Bangladesh and the US, there is no possibility of hampering national security.

On June 17, the cabinet approved the draft of Ticfa, a legally ‘nonbinding’ agreement that emphasises prohibition of protectionist trade policy.

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) on Saturday said the ‘election-time government’ has no authority to sign Ticfa with the United States.