Bangladesh on Thursday requested the United States to restore the generalised system of preference facility which has remained suspended for Bangladesh since the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
In the 5th round of Bangladesh-US Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement, held at the Hotel InterContinental in the capital, Bangladesh government presented the progress it made in the areas of labour rights, worker safety and labour legislation before the US delegation and requested to revive GSP facilities for Bangladeshi products.
‘We have discussed the GSP issue under the agenda of market preferences in the TICFA meeting and the US delegation has responded positively,’ commerce secretary Md Jafar Uddin told reporters following the meeting.
He said that the US delegation was convinced that Bangladesh made significant progress in the areas of labour rights and work place safety and they assured that they would discuss the GSP issue with senior officials of their government.
Jafar said that the US delegation expressed its satisfaction over the progress Bangladesh had made in labour-related issues but they wanted to know some specific information on the rights issue.
As part of regular communication process, Bangladesh would provide the information to the US, he said.
‘From our side, we also demanded fair prices of Bangladeshi export products under the agenda of ethical business practice,’ Jafar said. Christopher Wilson, assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Zeba Reyaazuddin, deputy assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Gregory Taevs, acting deputy senior commercial officer of the US commerce department and Earl R Miller, US ambassador to Bangladesh, among others, attended the meeting.
Jafar said that Bangladesh sought support from the US to face the graduation challenges. ‘We have requested them to provide trade-related training and technology so that we can build our capacity to face the graduation challenges,’ the commerce secretary said.
He also said that the US expressed its interest to make investment in digital trade in Bangladesh.
The US and Bangladesh signed the TICFA on November 25, 2013 to establish an annual forum for increasing bilateral trade and investment. (Source: New Age)