Dhaka-Washington 2nd Ticfa meeting November 23
11 November 2015, Nirapad News: Bangladesh will focus on GSP issue in the forthcoming second Ticfa meeting with the USA with a high hope that there will be a solution to the long-pending issue.
“We expect to get back GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) benefit after the Ticfa meeting to be held in Washington in November 23. Bangladesh will keep GSP issue on high of its agenda,” said Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
He made the remark while disclosing the date of the next Ticfa meeting at a joint press conference with US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat at the Secretariat.
The Commerce Minister said Bangladesh will demand restoration of GSP in the coming Ticfa meeting. Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon will lead the Bangladesh delegation in the Ticfa meeting.
“We’ve ensured workers rights, improved working conditions and amended Labour Law. The working environment is very sound. There’s no reason to see any barrier to get back GSP,” Tofail said adding that the success and implementation of the Ticfa is dependent on the regaining the GSP.
Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) agreement was signed by Bangladesh Commerce Secretary (former) Mahbub Ahmed and Acting Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler in 2013.
Ticfa provides a mechanism for both governments to discuss trade and investment issues and areas of cooperation.
The Commerce Minister said Bangladesh will also discuss the issue like the prospect of the inclusion of the country in the mega Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The US-led 12-nation TPP was signed last month.
Bangladesh’s exports to the US have been maintaining a steady growth even after the suspension of the GSP because of quality garment products, the minister said.
During the July-October period, Bangladesh’s export to the US was $1.98 billion, up 17 percent from the corresponding period of the last year.
While speaking at the briefing, the US diplomat said Bangladesh might get back the GSP benefit as there has been significant progress in terms of safety to the workers.
On the security issue, Bernicat said, “We’re very close partners on security issues. We’re working very closely on security issues. We’ll also work in future on security issues.”
She said Bangladesh export growth to the US market is ‘robust’ and the GSP will be in the agenda of the Ticfa meeting, and the future export potential of the country will also be discussed at the meeting as some products like pharmaceuticals has a good potential of to the US in future.
“We’ll also discuss making two-way trades more robust. How we can increase the trade in both ways. We’re now partner countries, we’ve shared values and US is friend of Bangladesh,” Bernicat added.
She said they are enthusiastic trading partners and development partners and mentioned that Bangladesh will be able to regain the GSP eligibility.