Ticfa to help improve workers' safety, rights: USTR
The Ticfa agreement between the United States and Bangladesh would help finding solutions to improve Bangladeshi workers' safety and their rights, US Trade Representative Michael Froman hoped.
“With this agreement, the US and Bangladesh will more regularly work together to address issues of concern in our trade and investment relationship,” Froman, who presided over the signing of the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa), said.
“Importantly, we’ll also be able to track and discuss Bangladeshi efforts to improve worker safety and worker rights. This is an important priority for the United States as Bangladesh seeks to prevent more tragedies in its ready-made garment sector,” he said after signing of the treaty in Washington.
The office of the United States Trade Representative published his remarks on its website.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed and Acting Deputy of US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler signed the deal yesterday on behalf of Bangladesh and the US respectively.
The Ticfa provides a mechanism for both governments to discuss trade and investment issues and areas of cooperation.
Worker Rights& Safety
In June 2013, President Obama suspended the eligibility of Bangladesh for tariff benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. GSP is a programme designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products when imported from one of 126 designated beneficiary countries and territories.
The suspension was based on insufficient progress by the Government of Bangladesh in affording Bangladeshi workers internationally recognised worker rights.
In July 2013, USTR provided Bangladesh with an action plan on worker rights and safety that, if implemented, could provide a basis for the president to consider the reinstatement of GSP trade benefits.
In the bilateral meeting following the Ticfa signing, Bangladesh government shared its progress to-date on addressing the various elements of the action plan.
Bangladesh is currently our 59th largest goods trading partner with $5.4 billion in total bilateral goods trade during 2012, the USTR said.