Canada said it would take steps to boost garment imports from Bangladesh in an effort to increase bilateral trade.
The North American nation is satisfied with the progress Bangladesh has made in labour rights and workplace safety in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse, Canadian High Commissioner Benoit-Pierre Laramee told reporters yesterday after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat.
Since January 2003, Canada has allowed duty-free access to Bangladeshi products, due to which the country's exports, especially garment items, have been rising steadily. Of the total exports to Canada from Bangladesh, 96 percent are apparel items.
In the July-March period of the fiscal year, the country shipped $734.02 million of goods to Canada. The country's imports from Canada during the July-February period stood at $495.80 million, according to data from the commerce ministry.
In fiscal 2013-14, Bangladesh exported goods worth $1.1 billion to Canada and imported goods worth $585.5 million. Ahmed said the government has created a worker-friendly and safe working condition for the garment workers.
The government has already given the duty-free import facility of fire doors and fire safety equipment, so that the garment makers can install those easily in the factory to ensure safe workplaces.
He said the Accord and Alliance, two foreign building inspection agencies, have already completed preliminary inspection of more than 2,500 factories, but found only 29 faulty structures, which is less than 2 percent.