Prospect of GSP very bleak
The prospects of Bangladesh retaining the generalised system of preferences in the US market are bleak, according to Commerce Minister GM Quader.
“After the Rana Plaza collapse, expecting a positive result from the USTR hearing has become difficult,” Quader told The Daily Star yesterday.
“I cannot exactly say whether the outcome will be positive,” he said.
But US Ambassador Dan W Mozena relayed a “grim” feedback from the United States Trade Representative, according to Quader.
Mozena held a meeting with the minister yesterday at the latter's secretariat in Dhaka.
USTR, the body responsible for developing US's trade policy, is scheduled to give out the decision on Bangladesh's GSP status early next month.
Under the GSP scheme, a host of Bangladeshi products enjoy duty-free entry into the US market at present.
Following the Tazreen fire last year that killed 112 workers, American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisation, the largest trade union in the US, filed a petition for discontinuation of GSP for Bangladesh.
On the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) with the US, Quader said the commerce ministry placed the issue to the cabinet last week but it was dropped from the agenda for further discussion.
Another high official of the ministry said the government has no plans to sign the Ticfa so soon for political reasons.
“The government is stalling on signing the Ticfa as it is observing the situation,” the official said, asking not to be named.
The Ticfa is a platform for resolving trade disputes between the two countries through holding dialogues.
Currently, Bangladesh and the US have a platform to hold partnership dialogue, which does not include trade issues.
The second such dialogue will be held in Dhaka on May 26-27, while the first one took place in Washington in September last year.