The first-ever meeting under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) between Dhaka and Washington begins here on Monday, aiming to identify and address obstacles to further expanding bilateral trade and investment. However, a series of meetings will be held on Sunday between the two sides before the key Ticfa meeting, said a senior official at the Commerce Ministry on Saturday. The USA will have a large, high-level team, accompanied by a private sector delegation representing its many finest companies. The Ticfa meeting will review bilateral trades and investment between the two countries, progress on ‘Bangladesh Action Plan 2013’ for GSP restoration and the US investment in Bangladesh. The issue of duty- and quota-free access to the US market also may come up for discussions at the meeting. Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Michael J Delaney will lead the US side while Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed will lead the home side to the meeting to be held at city’s Sonargaon Hotel. Meanwhile, a visiting US delegation, including US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena, will meet Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his Secretariat office at 11am Sunday and discuss various bilateral issues, said another official at the Commerce Ministry. After the meeting, the delegation will go to the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) to attend a programme where issues related to trade and investment will be discussed. The DCCI and American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) will jointly host the event at the DCCI auditorium at 12:30pm. Head of the US delegation Michael J Delaney will be present as the chief guest, said a DCCI official. Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, AmCham President Aftab ul Islam and DCCI President Mohammad Shahjahan Khan will also attend the meeting. “Ticfa features a rich agenda of issues as both sides endeavour to identify and address obstacles to further expanding bilateral trade and investment,” said US Ambassador Dan Mozena. Mozena, addressing a function here on Thursday last, said Ticfa will also include a discussion of efforts underway in Bangladesh to bring about restoration of Bangladesh’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade privileges in the United States. These efforts are largely synonymous with Bangladesh’s campaign to transform the apparel sector to bring worker safety and labour rights to international standards in the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen Fashions fire, said Mozena. The first Ticfa meeting was originally scheduled for April 7-8, but it was postponed as officials were not ready for that. On November 25, Bangladesh signed Ticfa with the US to remove trade barriers between the two countries.