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Cablegate: 2010 Bfif Request From Bangladesh

VZCZCXRO0252
PP RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #0090/01 0281012
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281012Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9954
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1060
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1654
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 000090

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EEB/CBA DENNIS WINSTEAD
NEW DELHI FOR FCS
KOLKATA FOR FCS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: BEXP ETRD ECON PREL BG
SUBJECT: 2010 BFIF REQUEST FROM BANGLADESH

REF A: 09 STATE 126674 B: 09 STATE 25569 C: 09 DHAKA 80

SUMMARY
-------

1. Mission Dhaka requests funding from the Business Facilitation
Incentive Fund (BFIF) for training of economic-commercial staff and
consultations with the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) office in
Kolkata. In the last three years, our commercial workload has
increased dramatically, and our small Trade Center would greatly
benefit from consultations and training at our regional FCS office.
A visit and consultations with FCS-Kolkata would advance Post's goal
of partnering with FCS Kolkata under the State-Commerce Memorandum
of Understanding for posts with no FCS office (ref B). A Mission
Dhaka - FCS Kolkata partnership post arrangement would enable post
to utilize the FCS fees it already collects for additional business
promotion activities. Per Ref A request, we are including a second
priority proposal for BFIF funding to print U.S. Trade Center
publications.

BACKGROUND
----------

2. Dhaka's small U.S. Trade Center has seen a sharp rise in demand
for fee-based commercial services during the past three years. Fees
for FCS-branded commercial services, including International Company
Profiles, International Partnership Searches and Gold Key Services,
rose from $2,000 in FY07 to $6,035 in FY08 and $10,900 in FY09.

3. One year after the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh, the
Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has articulated ambitious plans to
promote trade and investment, particularly on energy and
infrastructure projects. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the
American Chamber of Commerce during her election campaign and
signaled her keen interest in expanding trade and investment with
the United States. Mission Dhaka looks forward to capitalizing on
this interest in U.S. products and services in Bangladesh.

FIRST PRIORITY: TRAINING/CONSULTATION WITH FCS-KOLKATA
--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. JUSTIFICATION/EXPECTED IMPACT: We are proposing to schedule a
two-day commercial training for U.S. Trade Center staff with our
partnership post in Kolkata, India. The visit would allow our U.S.
direct-hire Economic/Commercial Officer and two Locally Engaged
Staff (LES) to consult with FCS colleagues on service standards and
best practices for provision of FCS-branded services to U.S. firms.
A training program would also allow our staff to better understand
and coordinate fee collection and administration of commercial
services. This will ultimately enhance our services to U.S. firms
pursuing trade and investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

5. Consultations with FCS-Kolkata would also offer an opportunity
to engage with FCS colleagues in strategic planning for commercial
outreach, promotion of U.S. trade shows and other business promotion
activities. By shadowing FCS commercial specialists and reviewing
their standard operating procedures, we hope to improve the
efficiency and service standards of the U.S. Trade Center in Dhaka.
We will also consult with FCS on best practices in measuring the
effectiveness of business promotion activities, in order to document
success stories and focus on activities with the highest potential
for increasing U.S. trade and investment. Per consultation with FCS
and EEB/BCA, this training and consultation trip can lay the
groundwork for Dhaka to be included as a partnership post under the
State-Commerce MOU for non-FCS posts.

6. Planning Milestones/Performance Metrics: In consultation with
FCS-Kolkata, we have tentatively scheduled the visit in late
February or early March. Measurable outcomes include: the inclusion
of Dhaka as a partnership post; increase in FCS-branded services;
and, most importantly, an increase in documented success stories
showing U.S. Trade Center contributions to increased U.S. exports.

7. Cost Estimate: A three-day training and consultation program in
Kolkata for one American officer and two LES would cost
approximately $4,000, including lodging, M&IE, and air fare for
three people.

SECOND PRIORITY: U.S. TRADE CENTER PUBLICATIONS
--------------------------------------------- --

8. Enhanced Embassy security has limited physical access to the
U.S. Trade Center and reduced its use by the public. Post proposes
to use BFIF funds to extend our presence into Dhaka-area Chambers of
Commerce and other business association offices through
dissemination of Trade Center publications. Through BFIF, we would
cover the printing costs of materials to supplement our outreach

DHAKA 00000090 002 OF 002


efforts. Examples of these publications include: a brochure on
Trade Center services, our Country Commercial Guide, answers to
frequently asked questions, and tips for using the Internet to
access USG information and services, including through buyusa.gov.
Placing these resources into an "American Business Corner" in
various Chambers of Commerce in Dhaka would extend the reach of our
Trade Center and increase our ability to reach out to business
here.

9. Embassy officers now routinely carry our publications to meetings
with government and business officials. Our publications and
current distribution networks promote economic reform and U.S.
exports, both key Mission objectives. Expanding access to these
materials, and tailoring materials to clients' needs, would enable
us to provide targeted and efficient responses to assistance
requests. If the concept is proven, additional American Business
Corners could be established in other major cities in Bangladesh,
giving us a much wider 'virtual' presence.

10. Cost Estimate: Costs of printing promotional materials and
preparing small American Business Corner information kiosks for
placement in local Chambers of Commerce would run approximately
$4,000.

11. Points of contact for Economic/Commercial issues at Embassy
Dhaka are:

Alexander Gazis
Economic/Commercial Officer
US Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tel: (880-2) 855-5500 x 4178
GazisAC@state.gov

Heather Variava
Deputy Pol/Econ Chief
U.S. Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tel: (880-2) 855-5500 x 2532
VariavaHC@state.gov

Moriarty

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