USTR advises WTO level negotiation for duty free market access  

Visiting Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for South Asia Michael Delaney advised Bangladesh to negotiate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) for duty-free and quota-free market access (DFQF).

“Tariff structures for Bangladesh is under the authorities of WTO.the duty- free and quota-free are in the context of Doha round and its overall package..Doha round is yet to be implemented,” Delaney told a crowded press conference on completion of the maiden TICFA meeting at Sonargaon Hotel in the city on Monday.

ticfa2The first Trade and Framework Forum Agreement (TICFA) meeting was held here. Director General of Foreign Ministry Mahfuzur Rahman conduced the session while Labour Secretary Michael Shiper and US ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena and representatives from the USTR were present on the dais, BSS reports.

Bangladesh side was led by senior secretary of the ministry of Commerce Mahbub Ahmed while the United States by the USTR for South Asia Michael Delaney.

Michael Delaney praised Bangladesh steps to get back the generalized System of Preferences (GSP) saying that many more still needs to be done.

“We believe that there has been a substantial progress in a number of steps Bangladesh had taken and there are some works Bangladesh needs to be done in term of safety and inspections that is our fair perception about Bangladesh’s progress in GSP action plan,” he said.

About tariff treatment for Bangladesh and China, the Assistant USTR said, “Tariff structures for Bangladesh is under the authorities of WTO. “Bangladesh is afforded Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rate by the US. China received identical MFN. So there is no difference in terms of tariff treatments in between Bangladesh and China.”

Michael Delaney said both the US and Bangladesh had been working for establishing the TICFA for long time of about 12 years.

“I will characterize the meeting as very productive and pragmatic and it was characterized by problem-solving oriented issues. We have a very good discussion and a wide range of trade and investment issues came up for discussion during the meeting.”

“The purpose of TICFA is to boost US-Bangladesh trade and investment. We saw some problems today and for example, the government of Bangladesh is working to eliminate tariff on fire and fire safety equipments that is necessary for garment factories in Bangladesh,” he observed.

“We have very good discussion on GSP action plan which is designed for considering the reinstatement of GSP privilege for Bangladesh.”

“In the meeting we tried to analysis what is the position of Bangladesh in implementing GSP action plan and what are the remains need to be done”

“We all recognized the tremendous progress Bangladesh made in cooperation with other stakeholders. Bangladesh made good progress in a number of areas. We also recommended that lots of works need to be done. So we look forward to working with the government of Bangladesh and other stakeholders for fully implementing the GSP action plan in future.”

“We want to grow trade and investment relationship with Bangladesh. I firmly believe that trade and investment will create jobs and ensure prosperity and better future of the people of both the US and Bangladesh. We look forward to working together to find ways to continue to advance for economic relationship,” said Assistant USTR.

Mahbub Ahmed said, “The meeting was fruitful..We have discussed various issues in a congenial atmosphere and the issues were mainly bilateral trade and investment situation between Bangladesh and the US and GSP Action Plan,”

Many issues discussed in the meeting were Bangladeshi goods’ and services market access to the US, US investment in Bangladesh and transfer of technology, implementation of Bali package and progress in Istanbul plan of action.

“From US sides, they (US side) have raised several including tariff on electrical and fire safety equipments, cotton import from US and diabetic drugs, delay in payment and intellectual property (IP) rights and regional cooperation,” said the commerce secretary

“We’ve also discussed labour affairs and women empowerment that raised by the US side,” he said.

The second TICFA meeting would be held in 2015.


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