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TICFA meeting calls for stable trade relationship between US-BD

The largest market for ‘Made in Bangladesh’ readymade garment (RMG) is the United States of America.

A top US trade official Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia said Bangladesh has emerged as the third largest readymade garment (RMG) product supplier to the United States after China and Vietnam.

He also mentioned that buyers in the US recognized that Bangladesh is producing high quality garment products those are appealing to US consumers, reports BSS.

Figure: Christopher Wilson, Assistant US trade representative for South and Central Asia, meets Tipu Munshi, commerce minister, at the latter’s office at the secretariat in Dhaka before the TICFA meeting. (collected)

Alongside the enhancement of product quality, the improvement of workplace safety after 2013 Rana Plaza setback helps Bangladesh to regain confidence of US importers.

Bangladesh-US Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) meeting held on Thursday, March 8 Wilson were in Dhaka for the fifth round of the, where Christopher Wilson he spoke that.

In that meeting Wilson added that US companies became enthusiastic for investing in Bangladesh as it appeared to be a large market with rapid growth and in many respects Bangladesh government’s policy seemed worked in attracting foreign investments.

The US official said in the last calendar year of 2019 Bangladesh RMG’s export volume was worth US$6.8 billion and the volume “has continued to grow”.

According to official figures the two-way Bangladesh-US trade volume in 2019 was around US$9 billion, an amount which was doubled in 10 years.

“The tariffs that Bangladesh products facing in the US market that are equivalent to those places by China and Vietnam. So, there is no discriminatory treatment in terms of tariffs,” Wilson added.

Garment products account for 95 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports to the US market while US imposes 15.62 percent duty for RMG imports inside their country.

Wilson said US drew Bangladesh government’s attention to these concerns seeking appropriate measures on Dhaka part at the just concluded TICFA meeting, where his country simultaneously lauded Dhaka’s recent steps to adopt some conventions on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) related to WTO rules.

Wilson, however, said the GSP issue appeared insignificant in Bangladesh-US trade relations as Bangladesh suffered nominally from commercial perspective over the GSP issue while its major RMG products was never eligible for its advantage.

As a least developed country, 97 percent of the goods originating from Bangladesh had enjoyed duty-free benefits in the US markets as per the decision taken during the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in 2005.

However, the country’s main export item, garments, was not included in the 97 percent package. Garment exports account for 95 percent of Bangladesh’s exports to the US.

As a result, Bangladeshi exporters face 15.62 percent duty on the export of apparel items to US markets.


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