By Al Kamen
How does a foreign country get trade preferences from Washington? It hires a lobbyist, of course.
That’s what Bangladesh officials concluded after meeting with a congressional delegation last month.
Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni, briefing reporters after a visit by a delegation led by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), said the group told her that Bangladesh should get duty and quota-free access to U.S. markets, the Financial Express newspaper said.
She said the delegation advised her that countries that have lobbyists get better results.
That proposition may or may not be true, but that’s not exactly what the delegation said, Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said after checking with Kingston.
“The L word was never mentioned,” Crawford told us, “and “certainly no particular firm was mentioned.”
The point the delegation was making, Crawford said, was that most Americans “don’t know about this country,” even though “Bangladesh is the eighth largest country in the world” in terms of population and the fourth largest Muslim country.
There “was a discussion of the need for Bangladesh to present its case,” Crawford said, much as India and Israel (other stops on the trip) do, using its embassy and expats living in United States.
Others on the delegation, which arrived in Dhaka on Jan. 26, included GOP Reps. Ed Whitfield (Ky.), Scott Tipton (Colo.) and Adam Schiff (Calif.).
But the foreign minister told reporters after the meeting that “we must consider appointing a lobbyist firm as many countries have such firms in the U.S. to look after the overall business interests.”
SOURCE: Washington Post