First TICFA meet begins Monday  

The first meeting of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA), which has already been effective since January this year, will begin in the capital on Monday.

“We’ve good preparations for the meeting.duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access and GSP will be the key agenda in the first TICFA meeting on Bangladesh side,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told BSS today (Saturday).

ticfa2Mahbub described the two-day meeting as a high-level bilateral engagement between Dhaka and Washington and said it will help find ways for increasing trade and investment between the two countries.

The Commerce Secretary said a high-profile US private sector trade delegation is already in Dhaka to hold first meeting of the TICFA to discuss these issues, reports BSS.

“Of course, Bangladesh will have many issues they want to raise and America will have issues. We’ll raise them and discuss them and try to find a way forward with the shared objective of increasing trade and investment between our two countries,” US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena told journalists earlier.

A leading economist say strengthening the Bangladesh-US trade and economic relations is extremely important for maintaining the pace of sustainable economic development of Bangladesh.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told the news agency that the TICFA may open up opportunities for both Bangladesh and the US to further deepen and broaden trade and economic relations for mutual benefit.

“I see the meeting is important for two reasons—first meeting in Dhaka and the tune Bangladesh is going to set for the meeting will be important for coming years,” he said.

The economist said “Our efforts would be on how we can have greater market access to the US market and duty-free market access too.”

Prof Mustafiz said, “Obviously Bangladesh will have an interest that the US Administration would play a role in placing a bill on zero- tariff market access in the US senate since Bangladesh signed the TICFA”

About the widely-talked issue of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the financial analyst said both Bangladesh and the US will speak about the tariff facility in the inter-governmental meeting.

Bangladesh can raise in details the steps it has taken to win back the GSP from the US and the US will also tell to this end, he said.

“If the US side raise about Intellectual Property (IP) issue, Bangladesh should seek technical support strategically from the US government for protection of the IP rights,” said the financial analyst.

Many experts believe that the TICFA will also protect and promote our interests in areas of transfer of technology, compulsory licensing including in sectors like pharmaceutical ingredients, biotechnology, energy related technology transfer and others and technical assistance for capacity building under the terms of the Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement.

The misguided negotiations between 2003 and 2012 on TIFA/TICFA have caused Bangladesh immense losses, depriving the country more beneficial and deeper access to the US market for a decade till to date, they said.