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Cablegate: Bangladesh: Comments Regarding Calvert Social Investment

VZCZCXRO2109
RR RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHNP RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKA #1267/01 2180729
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060729Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4686
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9221
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1777
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 001267

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO OPIC / LOREN RODWIN, SENIOR INVESTMENT
OFFICER, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE FINANCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH: COMMENTS REGARDING CALVERT SOCIAL INVESTMENT
FOUNDATION

REF: STATE 103089

1. Embassy Dhaka is pleased to respond to reftel's request for
information regarding OPIC's potential support for CALVERT SOCIAL
INVESTMENT FOUNDATION. Post has no credible information concerning
potential ties to terrorism, money laundering, corruption or
violations of law by Activists for Social Alternatives, ASA
(http://www.asabd.org/) or Bangladesh Unemployed Rehabilitation
Organization, BURO (http://nirapad.org/buro.asp).

2. Bangladesh is well acquainted with NGOs in both the commercial
and developmental areas, with estimates of over 20,000 NGOs already
operating in the country. In fact, the government of Bangladesh has
created an "NGO Affairs Bureau" specifically to assist in dealing
with NGOs in Bangladesh, http://www.ngoab.gov.bd/. The rules and
regulations concerning NGO activities and transfers of money to NGOs
in Bangladesh are very specific, and Calvert should ensure that
whatever format their engagement with ASA and BURO takes is in full
compliance.

3. In terms of general security, NGOs have been specifically
threatened by various groups, including most recently in notes
accompanying the three bombs which went off in three train stations
in Bangladesh on May 1, 2007. Overall, however, NGOs continue to
operate effectively throughout Bangladesh while taking appropriate
and reasonable safety precautions.

4. Bangladesh has a long history of violent political protests, and
in fact a state of emergency was declared in Bangladesh on January
11, 2007 in response to escalating political violence in advance of
the national parliamentary elections then scheduled for January 26,
2007. The election has now been postponed to late 2008; currently
the situation remains very peaceful as, for the most part, the
non-elected caretaker government enjoys popular support. There is
the potential for political violence in the run up to the
anticipated 2008 elections and even before then as the political
parties may press for earlier elections.

5. The AFL-CIO has filed a petition with the United States Trade
Representative for the suspension of Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP). The USTR is currently reviewing the petition,
and as of July 2007, has not decided whether to accept the petition

DHAKA 00001267 002 OF 002


or not. It is post's understanding that a loss of GSP facilities
would negatively impact OPIC's ability to provide services in
Bangladesh.

6. Post's point of contact for further inquiries is Carter Wilbur,
Economic Officer. Email: wilburcw@state.gov; Phone: (8802)
885-5500 xt 2206; Fax: (8802) 882-4008.

PASI

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