Demand for duty-free access to US gets boost

Bangladesh has built a deserving case for consideration of duty-free access for its products to the US market.

This assurance came from US Congressmen Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison at meetings with Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Akramul Qader on Friday.

McDermott mentioned his brief stopover in Bangladesh during his recent visit to the region and said he would visit Bangladesh again.

Commerce Secretary Golam Hossain, leader of the Bangladesh business delegation, briefed McDermott on the steps taken by the government to ensure compliance with labour rights and standards on trade issues.

He also spelled out the government's readiness to consider any suggestion, according to a message received here yesterday.

Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue Mustafizur Rahman elaborated on Bangladesh's continued economic growth and reasonable rate of inflation. He also requested the US Congressman for quick passage of the NPTDA (New Partnership for Trade Development Act 2009).

NPTDA aims to put more fairness in US preference programmes by creating a new model that extends duty-free, quota-free preferences, as well as encouraging trade and capacity building among least developed countries.

It has been designed to simplify and extend the generalised system of preferences by instituting a new single rule of origin and reviewing the current GSP statutory exclusions that were first established in 1974.

Second Vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Shafiqul Islam briefed the US Congressman on the current status of Bangladesh's RMG industry.

Managing Director of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority Azizur Rahman highlighted the better working conditions prevailing in the EPZs.

McDermott expressed his keenness to see further progress so that US Congress could have a favourable consideration of the NPTDA.

McDermott assured the Bangladesh delegation of his efforts for the passage of NPTDA and hoped Bangladesh would get its share of benefits when the law is in place.

McDermott sponsored the bill in the Congress and has now been working for its passage.

Source: The Daily Star

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