Bangladeshi exports will remain 'competitive' in the US market even after the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal is signed, US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat said yesterday.
“I fully expect Bangladesh is going to remain competitive, especially RMG [readymade garment] sector adopts international standards,” she said.
Bernicat made the comments while addressing a discussion arranged by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh, at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
The association's President Masud Karim chaired the event where General Secretary Bashir Ahmed also spoke.
The ambassador said Bangladesh might one day qualify for the TPP. “I think that's an excellent topic for the upcoming Ticfa [Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement].”
Twelve Pacific Rim nations sealed the TPP deal Monday on creating the world's largest free trade area, delivering President Barack Obama a major policy triumph.
The deal, led by the United States and Japan, aims to set the rules for 21st century trade and investment and press China, not one of the 12, to shape its behaviour in commerce to the TPP standards.
The deal will also promote jobs and growth in the US and across the Asia Pacific region.
There is a perception that Bangladesh will lose its competitive edge in apparel trade due to the TPP deal.
At present, Bangladesh pays 15.62 percent duty for its garment exports to the US, whereas Vietnam pays 8.38 percent.
After the signing of the TPP, garment exports from Vietnam will enter the American market completely without duty.
Bernicat, however, said if Bangladesh can meet the same international standards, its economy can enjoy more robust trade in the US. “You'll remain more competitive by adopting those standards.”
On the GSP issue, she said there are areas of relationship that require more work. “I can think of no better example than the restoration of GSP.
The recent visit of the assistant United States trade representative to assess progress on the action plan will help Bangladesh and its partners prepare for the upcoming sustainability compact review.”
Despite the GSP suspension, Bernicat said, US imports from Bangladesh has grown consistently as GSP only covers less than 1 percent of total exports.
Then US envoy said she is optimistic about GSP restoration and mentioned that Bangladesh economy must expand into other areas.