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BP Report
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has urged the United States to give the GSP privilege back to Bangladesh.
The commerece minister said it has become an ‘image issue’ and once the GSP scheme is restored, ‘this will give us a new image’.
Minister Tipu Munshi came up with the remarks at the inauguration ceremony of the US Trade Show 2019 on Thursday. US Ambassador Earl Miller was also present at the event.
The US annulled the GSP facilities on June 27, 2013, following two major industrial accidents in Bangladesh – Tazreen Fashion fire in 2012 and Rana Plaza collapse in 2013.
Under the GSP programme, Bangladesh had benefitted from exporting around 5,000 different items to the US market tariff-free.
The Obama administration had placed a set of conditions including improvement of the working conditions in RMG factories to revive the GSP facilities.
Bangladesh has made considerable progress in improving RMG factory environment and worked on other conditions, but the US has not restored the GSP facilities.
Tipu Munshi expressed his hope that the new US ambassador who joined in Dhaka in Nov last year would help reinstate the GSP scheme.
“I am very much hopeful things will be settled in future,” he said.
The US Trade Show is the flagship event of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh or AmCham. Jointly with the US Embassy in Dhaka, they are organising the event since 1992 when the bilateral trade was less than $500 million. The two-way trade is now over $8 billion.
This year 46 exhibitors occupying 74 booths are displaying their products and services. Two seminars – Education USA and Business Visas – will be held during the three-day show at the Pan Pacific Sonargoan Hotel.
Diagnostic Automation Inc, Parasound, The Kelllogg Company and Apple are among the newcomers in this year’s showcase.
The ambassador said he looked forward “to working with Minister Munshi toward our mutual goal of increasing trade and investment between our two countries.”
He said this years’ US Trade Show is an “excellent opportunity” to showcase the high quality products and services US companies bring to Bangladesh and recognise the contribution of US companies to Bangladesh’s development.
“The 26th annual US Trade Show comes at an auspicious time for US-Bangladesh trade and investment ties,” he said, adding that US exports to Bangladesh had a “banner year” in 2018.
Exports to Bangladesh reached $2.1 billion, a 43 percent increase from 2017.