First Ticfa talks with US soon
Bangladesh will soon start talks with the US to hold the first meeting under Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa), which was signed in November.
Though the first meeting was scheduled for January in Dhaka, no specific date has been fixed yet, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said yesterday.
Ticfa is a platform for holding talks between the high level officials of the two countries' commerce ministries.
In the meeting, Bangladesh will raise two issues -- restoration of the GSP in the US market and meaningful duty-free and quota-free market access of Bangladeshi garment items to the US, Ahmed said.
Bangladesh is working to improve safety and labour standards in its garment factories, as the US tagged the conditions with the revival of GSP (generalised system of preferences).
Following some factory accidents such as Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, the US on June 27 suspended Bangladesh's GSP.
Bangladesh enjoys duty-free access for 97 percent of its products to the US market, but the country's main export earning garment sector is excluded from the benefit.
Around 95 percent of Bangladesh's exports to the US are garment products, for which 15.30 percent duty has to be paid.
In 2012, Bangladesh paid $746 million as duty to the US government for exporting a little above $5 billion worth of garment products.
The US was supposed to review Bangladesh's GSP in December, but later postponed the schedule and the new review is expected in March or April.