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Dhaka looks into Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: Momen

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said his ministry is currently studying different aspects of newly formed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) to determine whether it would be beneficial for Bangladesh to join.

“We are studying on it (IPEF),” he told media at his office when he was approached to make comments on Bangladesh’s stand on the new economic framework.

On May 23, in Tokyo US President Biden launched the IPEF with 12 other couturiers – Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – which together represent 40 percent of world GDP.

The USA said there would be opportunities for other countries to join in IPEF and Washington expects that Bangladesh would follow it closely.

While asking China’s stand on IPEF, the foreign minister said there may be observations of different countries on whether Dhaka should join IPEF or not, “but we will only do that protects our national interest”.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina never compromises over the betterment of the country while the Padma Bridge is a big example of her firm stand for national interest.

“So, we are very happy that we have very strong leadership, we will do whatever we can for the good of our country,” he said.

“But, we will also hear advice from others, there is no harm to hear” Dr Momen said.

The foreign minister said the IPEF has put emphasis on four pillars – supply chain resilience, data management, corruption and money laundering and free and fair trade in Indo-pacific.

He said Dhaka has no observation regarding supply chain and inclusive and open navigation in Indo-pacific area for free trade. “(As like IPEF), we also want no disruption on the supply chain, so we have nothing to worry,” he said.

Beside, the minister said, the concept of free and open Indo-Pacific matches with Dhaka’s principles as Bangladesh wants to see free, inclusive and secure navigation in the region being situated on tip of the Bay of Bengal.

“But, I don’t know what is in that (IPEF) apart from our principles,” he said.

The minister said it is a good sign that IPEF wants to put emphasis on money laundering issue as most of the banks in western countries don’t disclose account information of foreign nationals due to their privacy acts.

“It’s good news, as we do not allow anyone to illegally transfer money from the country … so we have to look into this,” he added.

Regarding the Data Management, the minister said, Dhaka needs to figure out what is under this topic.

Recently, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas said here that the US first started consulting with Bangladesh foreign ministry about IPEF in March by sharing information in the bilateral dialogues privately.