Experts raise red flag over Bangladesh’s entry into Int’l Energy Charter Treaty

Publish: 8:54 PM, June 30, 2022 | Update: 8:54:PM, June 30, 2022

Experts expressed concern over Bangladesh’s entry into the International Energy Charter Treaty (IECT) as it may allow the foreign companies a free hand with their investment.

Though Dhaka signed “International Energy Charter” on May 20 in 2015, it is still unclear if it approved the deal.

Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, professor at the International Relation Department of Dhaka University, voiced the concern while making a presentation at a dialogue with journalists at Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK) organized by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB).

The keynote presentation was tiled: Bangladesh Energy Transition Policy and Energy Charter Treaty.

Vice president of CAB Prof M Shamsul Alam, who presided over the function, said it’s not clear if Bangladesh has approved the charter and got full membership to the organization.

“If Bangladesh approves the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), it will bring disaster to the country’s energy sector as the country will virtually lose its sovereign authority to control the foreign companies operating and those who will invest in the future,” he said.

Prof Tanzimuddin said a signatory to the ECT will have an obligation to allow foreign investment without any commitment to use local resources and equipment.

As a result, the local resources and equipment, despite having all efficiency, will have no use in any project in Bangladesh.

He said if the country wants to get out of the ECT, it will have to wait for 20 years as its obligation will exist for the period.

He also noted that in case of dispute with any foreign investor, it has to be settled through an international arbitration court and the country has to share half of the cost no matter whether it loses or wins the legal battle.

He said many signatories including Germany, Sweden and Hungary faced bad experience in dealing with foreign investment.

Now, they are trying to get out of the ECT to regain control on foreign investment, he added.