Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Dhaka needs to sign Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to expedite trade relations with Washington, U.S. Ambassador James F Moriarty said on Monday.

“One step that we can take to foster greater dialogue on entrepreneurship, market access and labor issues would be to sign a Trade and Infrastructure Framework Agreement,” he said at a meeting with the members of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in the capital, Dhaka.

Washington has been saying TIFA is a non-binding agreement that only commits parties to hold regular annual meetings, although many Bangladeshi stakeholders are still unaware of the matter.

“I want to be very clear that the proposed TIFA will not affect existing international commitments relating to intellectual property rights (IPR) or other areas,” the ambassador said, adding: “Our past experiences clearly show these meetings can produce tangible benefits for both sides — particularly for members of the business community.”

He also said all of the issues — entrepreneurship, market access, labour rights and TIFA – are essentially aimed at promoting economic development and spreading greater prosperity to the people of Bangladesh.

“By fostering entrepreneurship, enhancing market access and improving worker rights, we will ultimately help create jobs and reduce poverty. As experienced entrepreneurs, exporters and employers, you have a vital role to play in this process. Through your active engagement, you will help Bangladesh build a brighter future,” Moriarty noted.

The U.S. has already signed TIFA with more than 30 trading partners, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, a group of Central Asian nations and ASEAN.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-17November09-1:40 am (BST)