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Prof and Chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, USA Ali Riaz

Trump speech has issues of BD concern : Prof Riaz

WT24 Desk

President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech carries many worrying signals for the world at large and Bangladesh also needs to worry about certain issues if his speech is taken as the outline of the policies of his administration, said a political analyst.

“If we’re to take the inauguration speech of Donald Trump as the outline of the policies of his administration, there’re many worrying signals for the world at large,” Prof and Chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, USA Ali Riaz told UNB on Sunday.

He said Donald Trump’s speech has three principle elements — protectionism, populism and nationalism. “Taken together these will have impacts not only on the United States but also on the workings of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisations,” said Prof Riaz.

If the Trump administration pursues protectionist policies, it has the potential to ‘hurt’ Bangladesh ‘immensely’, he explained. As a country the United States is the largest market of Bangladeshi RMG products.

Prof Riaz mentioned that European market is constituted of many countries and Brexit has inserted uncertainty. “The USA is also the source of the largest FDI for Bangladesh.”

On climate change front, the political analyst said it is needless to say that climate change is an extremely crucial issue for Bangladesh. “We know that the country is the most vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change in the coming decades.”

If the US abandons the leadership in this regard Bangladesh will suffer the most, said Prof Riaz adding that without a global effort and support Bangladesh will be left with little resources to face the situation.

“If the USA withdraws from global treaties these treaties will have very limited effectiveness,” he added. Prof Riaz said Donald Trump’s statement that ‘it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first’ sends a message that common good for humanity can be disregarded.

“If all the countries pursue their own interests how will the issues with global implications be addressed? Take, for example, the issue of climate change. Whose responsibility will it be to address the adverse impacts caused by climate change?”

Prof Riaz said the Trump administration has already indicated that fighting what Trump described as ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ will be a priority. “The term itself is problematic.”

He said there is no disagreement that violent extremism needs to be confronted but identifying radicalism with a religion sends out a wrong message. “How that will shape the relationship with Muslim majority countries is an open question.”

Earlier, Trump suggested a policy of ‘extreme vetting’ for people from some countries, Prof Riaz recalled. “If Bangladesh is included in the list of these countries, it’ll have impacts on Bangladeshi diaspora in the United States,” explained Prof Riaz.

An official here wishing to remain unquoted said the government will closely observe the steps taken by the Trump administration and then take steps to ‘advance’ relations with the United States.

On Tuesday, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed expressed his hope the future negotiations with the US administration will bring positive outcomes. The two-way trade, including exports and imports, between the two countries has grown from $ 1.5 billion in 1996 to nearly $ 7 billion in 2015.

The Obama administration suspended trade privileges for Bangladesh in response to ‘concerns’ about labour rights and worker safety in the country back in 2013 which is yet to be restored.

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