Ticfa raises mixed reactions
Business leaders yesterday gave a mixed reaction to the signing of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement.
Welcoming the move, a group of businessmen said the deal would foster new business with the US, the country's single largest export destination, and both the countries would be able to hold talks to resolve any trade dispute.
Previously, Bangladesh could not hold dialogues to resolve trade disputes with the US as there was no such platform between the two.
“Ticfa should have been signed a lot earlier to increase trade with the US. From now, we will be able to bargain with them,” said Helal Uddin, vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry. “I welcome the deal.”
But Sabur Khan, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Bangladesh would not be able to follow all compliance standards cited in the Ticfa deal, as the country is not ready yet.
The deal may hurt the country's pharmaceuticals and IT industries, he said.
“Ticfa should be a positive one for us. With the deal now in place, the US should also include the garment items in the GSP scheme for duty privileges so that both Bangladeshi manufacturers and US retailers are benefited,” said Reaz-Bin-Mahmood, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the garment makers' platform.
If the US government allows duty benefits to the garment exports from Bangladesh, American retailers will feel encouraged to place more orders, he said.
“If we utilise the deal positively we will have some positive impacts for us.”
Currently, Bangladesh pays 15.3 percent duty on garment exports to the US.
“The deal will help strengthen our business relationship with the US,” said Mohammad Hatem, vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the knitters' platform.
“But the US should not show any one-sided attitude, as Bangladesh does not have such a bargaining power to win with the US. We welcome the deal,” Hatem said.
Former BGMEA president Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez said the deal would bring troubles to the garment sector, as the government signed it without much homework.
“The US will now press so many compliance issues on us. We are not yet prepared.”
“We are inviting troubles in the name of winning back GSP to the US market.”