Dhaka to seek duty-free RMG export to USBangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka
Bangladesh plans to make an appeal for duty-free market access of readymade garments products to the US market during the visit of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, due in Dhaka today on a two-day trip.
‘We’re demanding duty-free access of RMG products to the US markets for long. We shall make an appeal to the US influential official,’ commerce minister GM Quader told the news agency.
A total of 97 per cent Bangladeshi goods enter the US market without any duty, but the garments, the country’s main export items, have been left out.
As a result, the country’s RMG products have to enter the US markets paying 15.3 per cent duty and facing a stiff competition from China, India and Pakistan.
Quader said although the US was providing Bangladesh with tariff facility to its markets for some products under Generalised System of Preferences, it has been demanding a duty-free access for garment products to the US markets for long.
The US is giving the duty-free market access to some African countries, he said, adding that Bangladesh enjoyed the duty-free treatment from European Union, Canada and Australia.
‘We can seek the duty-free access for RMG goods to the US market from Hillary Clinton for some obvious reasons,’ said the minister.
Exporters Association of Bangladesh president Abdus Salam Murshedi said Bangladesh had the quality to get the duty-free access to the US markets, as it was a member of the LDCs and a moderate Muslim country where most of the garments workers are women.
‘We’ll be able to supply apparel items to US buyers at competitive price and similarly consumers would get those at cheap rates if we get the tariff treatment,’ said Murshedi, also former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Welcoming the commerce ministry’s expected plea to Hillary, Javed Chowdhury, a leading RMG exporter, said, ‘Our apparel export would expand rapidly should Bangladesh get the duty-free access for apparel items to US markets.’
Chowdhury, also managing director of Mustang International Ltd, said Bangladesh enjoyed duty-free market access for its major export item to Canada but the quantity was much less than the US.
In a recent statement, US ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena linked Bangladesh’s demand for duty-free access for garment exports with Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement.
‘Soon we hope to conclude a bilateral Ticfa, which will establish a forum that will identify and address obstacles for increased trade and investment between the two countries,’ Mozena said at a discussion on the US-Bangladesh trade relations at the FBCCI office in Dhaka on April 16.
In fiscal 2010-11, Bangladesh exported knitwear items worth $1.12 billion and woven garment items worth $3.50 billion to the US, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
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