BD-US Ticfa meeting in Washington Monday
Bangladesh and the United States will hold the second round of Ticfa meeting in Washington on Monday in which Bangladesh will highlight the progress in terms of RMG sector reforms with a high hope to get back GSP benefit in the US market.
Both sides will also explore areas to boost trade and investment between the two countries.
Senior Secretary of Commerce Hedayetullah Al Mamun and Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Mike Delaney will co-chair the Ticfa Forum meeting, said an official at the Commerce Ministry here.
On November 25, 2013, Bangladesh and the US signed the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) to establish an annual forum to identify and address obstacles to increasing bilateral trade and investment.
The first Ticfa meeting was held in Dhaka in April last year.
Apart from the GSP issues, the Bangladesh side is likely to seek the US support in the upcoming 10th World Trade Organisation Summit and ask the US to include RMG (readymade garment) in the duty-free package.
The developed countries committed it in the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in 2005 but the US kept apparel items from Bangladesh out of the package.
This year’s Ticfa seeks to further bolster trade between the United States and Bangladesh, which exceeds $6 billion annually, said the US side.
US Deputy Chief of Mission David Meale, who will represent the US Embassy at Ticfa said, “Ticfa is about expanding the potential of our two countries’ bilateral trade and investment relationship, which includes promising new areas, from pharmaceuticals to increased investment in infrastructure to information technology.”
Earlier on November 10, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh will focus on GSP issue in the Ticfa meeting with the USA with a high hope that there will be a solution to the long-pending issue.
“We expect to get back GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) benefit after the Ticfa meeting. Bangladesh will keep GSP issue on high of its agenda,” he said.
US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, on the day, said Bangladesh export growth to the US market is ‘robust’ and the GSP will be in the agenda of the Ticfa meeting, and the future export potential of the country will also be discussed at the meeting as some products like pharmaceuticals has a good potential of to the US in future.
“We’ll also discuss making two-way trades more robust. How we can increase the trade in both ways. We’re now partner countries, we’ve shared values and US is friend of Bangladesh,” Bernicat added.
Bangladesh submitted its progress report twice in line with 16-point US Action Plan for Bangladesh to the United States Trade Representative, the Chief trade negotiator for the Obama administration. However, Bangladesh is yet to receive any positive response from the US side.
Bangladesh has recruited over 200 additional factory inspectors, allowed trade unionism with full freedom of association, amended the Labour Law and formulated supporting rules for the amended law.
Bangladesh has also published a publicly accessible database and a hotline on the garment sector and completed the preliminary inspections of the 3,500 garment factories.