Full Text of Speech by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Delivered September 20, 2011 at Asia Society in New York
Trustees and Members of the Asia Society, Distinguished Leaders of the USA’s Commerce and Industry,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalamu Alaikum and Good Afternoon to you all.
Thank you for inviting me to speak before you on the prospects of trade and investment cooperation between Bangladesh and the USA. I would also like to thank the US Chamber of Commerce and the Asia Society, for holding this event. The Asia Society’s recent report on “Enhancing Trade and Investment between Bangladesh and the United States” demonstrates their sincere desire to improve trade relations with Bangladesh. Meanwhile the US Chamber of Commerce is playing a highly commendable role in deepening Bangladesh’s commercial ties with the United States. The Joint US-Bangladesh Working Group launched by US Chamber of Commerce in May 2010 also contributes in creating greater awareness amongst the American companies about the business opportunities in Bangladesh. I am glad to see that so many American business leaders could be present in today’s event.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was also my father, dreamt of a “Sonar Bangla”- a happy and a prosperous nation free from poverty and hunger; A country upholding the values of democracy, secularism, and social justice. I continue to pursue his dream, by transforming our country into a middle income “Digital Bangladesh”. You will be pleased to know that during the recent world recession, our annual GDP growth rate averaged at 6%. Our export basket has been widening and the Export/GDP ratio continues to rise. Our industrial growth averaged at 8%; Services grew at 6%; and Agriculture maintained growth around 4%. Thus, now 90% of our annual public expenditure comes from domestic sources.