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Dhaka again seeks duty-free access for RMG made of US cotton

Staff Correspondent
22 May 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 22 May 2023 00:15:09
Dhaka again seeks duty-free access for RMG made of US cotton

Bangladesh has again sought duty free access to the US market for locally produced garments made from the US cotton, said Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh.

“Bangladesh made the same demand in the last meeting of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) held in Washington in December last year,” he told the journalists emerging out of a meeting with senior officials of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) at his office in Dhaka on Sunday.

The commerce ministry raised the same demand to the USTR officials, although the US usually does not allow duty free access of garment products to the country. In the meeting, Bangladesh did not directly request for revival of the GSP to the US markets but demanded preferential market access, he said.

Ghosh said Bangladesh has the right to demand the duty free access for the garment products made from US cotton as reciprocity, because it has lifted the years-long fumigation of US cotton in Bangladesh.

Mentioning that the USTR officials in the meeting complained about the export of counterfeit goods from Bangladesh to the USA, the commerce secretary said, “There is no chance of sending any counterfeit goods from Bangladesh to the USA and to the EU as the consignments are audited by different organisations at different levels before final shipments.”

The USTR also urged to improve the business climate in the country for attracting more American investment in Bangladesh, he informed.

“The government has already changed the renewal time of trade and export-import licences. Previously, those licences had to be renewed every year but now it is needed to renew in five years,” he said.

Ghosh said the USTR officials also expressed concern about the government’s formulation of the Data Protection Act which might discourage the US investors for increment in Bangladesh. The visiting USTR team will sit with the ICT ministry in a meeting in this regard.

Regarding the labour situation, Ghosh said the government has been updating the labour law and rules and publishing the updates on the website so that people can know about it.

Mentionable, the labour law and rules of the law are being updated under the National Action Plan addressing the requirements of the EU for GSP Plus facility.

However, Bangladesh sought cooperation from the USA for supporting Bangladesh in obtaining the extension of LDC facility beyond 2026 in the forum of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

From the US side Brian Luti, director for South Asia Regional Affairs, National Security Council, Brendan Lynch, deputy assistant USTR and Mahnaz Khan, director for South Asia USTR attended the meeting.

Nobody from the USTR talked to the journalists after the meeting.