Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu on Sunday said that Bangladesh would be the first country to be eligible for the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) if the US Congress authorises the trade scheme.
"We are still waiting for our Congress to authorise GSP to any country. We are working very closely with the government. So, when it is authorised, the first country on the list will be Bangladesh," he said.
The Generalised System of Preferences is a trade advantage offered to many countries in the world by the European Union and the United States.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs made the remarks while briefing reporters along with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at the Foreign Ministry.
Lu arrived in Dhaka Saturday evening on a two-day visit to strengthen the bilateral relationship and expand economic engagement between Dhaka and Washington.
The Generalised System of Preferences is a trade scheme under which the US allows the import of more than 5,000 goods from 122 least-developed and developing countries at lower or zero duty.
The US has renewed trade preferences for 122 nations around the world, but Bangladesh was excluded from the list in June 2013 after two industrial disasters – the Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse, citing serious shortcomings in labour rights and workplace safety.
The US introduced the GSP in 1976 under the US Trade Act of 1974.
The scheme, however, remained suspended for all beneficiary countries since July 31, 2013.