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18 May, 2017 12:10:02 AM
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Dhaka renews call for duty free access

GSP issue not raised in third ticfa meet
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT
Dhaka renews call for duty free access

Dhaka yesterday reiterated its demand that Washington should grant Bangladeshi products duty-free-quota-free (DFQF) access to the United States market as per the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“As per the principle of Doha Development Round, Bangladesh, as a least developed country, should get the DFQF facility,” commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose told a briefing after the third meeting under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum (TICFA) at the state guest house Padma.     
But, the United States is of the opinion that Doha Development Round has never been concluded and that it is matter for the Congress to decide on granting this privilege.
“Doha development Round is never concluded... Not decided on DFQF...It is the purview of the US Congress to grant DFQF access,” US ambassador Marcia Bernicat told the briefing while responding to a question.
The duty imposed by the US government on the Bangladeshi products is paid by the importers, she added.
Doha Development Round is the latest trade-negotiation of WTO which began in November 2001 with the objective to lower trade barriers around the world and to facilitate increased global trade.
To a question, commerce secretary Bose, who led the Bangladesh delegation to the meeting, said that no discussion took place with regard to GSP, the privilege was suspended by US in 2013.
When asked as to why the GSP issue was not raised at the meeting, a top foreign ministry official advised The Independent to ask the commerce secretary.
The commerce secretary said that the meeting discussed ways and means to expand the trade and investment. Some sectors have also been identified that are likely to have possible US involvement. 
He said that the position of US as Bangladesh’s single largest market for RMG has come below Germany and if the US top position has to be retained export must be increased.
 Bose said that the Bangladesh side has responded to all the queries and concerns the US had including labour right, level-playing field for all to do businesses in Bangladesh, transparency in the tendering process, amendments to the Labour Act.
Bangladesh has proposed to allow Bangladeshi professionals like in IT, nursing and midwifery sectors in the US, he said.
Labour secretary said that the Bangladesh side apprised its US counterpart about the situation concerning labour rights and safety.
Mentioning the initiative to amend the Labour Act to allow trade unions, he said that the US side has been informed of Dhaka’s initiative to launch a website in order to stop trade union-related discrimination.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said, “....It was more of an interactive session. We have also wanted know what policies the new US administration are pursuing and how these may affect us.”
“We have been assured that the US’s open market policy will not change,” he said.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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