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Bangladesh seeks duty-free access of RMG in US market

Bangladesh has demanded duty-free access to the US market for finished garments made of US cotton. The delegation of Bangladesh made this proposal at the sixth meeting of the United States-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) recently.

Figure: Bangladesh has demanded duty-free access to the US market for finished garments made of US cotton. Courtesy: Collected

Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, and Christopher Wilson, Assistant Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, led their respective countries in the meeting held in Washington DC, USA. According to a press release from Bangladesh Embassy in the United States, Bangladesh has also placed importance on preferential access of manufactured garments to the US market.

In the meeting, the commerce secretary mentioned that compared to other countries, Bangladesh now pays the highest tariff on garment exports to the United States, which is greatly reducing the competitiveness of Bangladeshi products in the US market.

Both sides discussed the fumigation of imported US cotton. The Bangladesh delegation proposed ‘zero’ duty on exports of Bangladeshi garments made of US cotton. The head of the US delegation, Christopher Wilson, agreed to continue discussions on the matter.

The other major areas discussed in the meeting included preferential access of Bangladeshi products to the US, trade and investment development, intellectual property rights, technical cooperation for quality certification and a working environment. Christopher Wilson agreed to continue discussions on these issues as well.

The US delegation requested easier repatriation of profits for US investments in Bangladesh. In this context, the Bangladesh delegation assured to examine the matter back to Dhaka.

Both sides discussed the proposed Data Protection Act, biotechnology in agriculture, ease of registration of Bangladeshi drugs in the US and simplification of provisions of the Seed Act to facilitate access of US seeds to Bangladesh.

At the beginning of the meeting, Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi welcomed the Bangladesh delegation. In her brief opening speech, she said, Bangladesh’s socio-economic progress has made the TICFA meeting more relevant than ever.

Among others in the Bangladesh delegation, Labor Secretary Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Secretary of Agriculture, Saidul Islam, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States Mohammad Imran and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commerce and the Department of ICT were present.

Both sides agreed to hold the 7th TICFA meeting in October 2023 in Dhaka.

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