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Commerce minister urges Washington to reinstate GSP

Opens three-day US Trade Show

FE Report | March 15, 2019 00:00:00

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi along with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller visiting a stall at the 26th US Trade Show after inaugurating the three-day fair at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on Thursday — FE Photo

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi urged the United States to reinstate trade benefits for Bangladesh, helping the country restore its image.

"We are trying to do--whatever required--to win back this GSP (generalised system of preferences)," he said on Thursday.

The minister saw it more as an "image problem" than financial benefit.

He made the remarks while inaugurating the US Trade Show in the city.

While his predecessor Tofail Ahmed was opposed to such trade preferences, Mr Munshi said the government is working on getting the GSP back as its suspension has made it difficult for exporters to access the market of the world's largest economy.

The 26th trade show began at the Sonargaon Hotel where some 46 exhibitors are showcasing their products and services.

During the three-day show, there will be two seminars on "Education USA" and "Business Visas."

Organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) and the US Embassy, the inaugural session of the show was addressed by US ambassador Earl R Miller and AmCham president M Nurul Islam.

AmCham has been organising the trade show since 1992 as a flagship event to promote economic cooperation and trade relationship between the US and Bangladesh. It also organises events to exchange information about the two countries' economic potentials and opportunities

The US withdrew the GSP facility on June 27, 2013, on the heels of Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers. Tazreen Fashions fire in 2012 also promoted the US to take such decisions.

While Bangladesh has made considerable progress in improving the safety and environment of the garment industry, the US has not yet restored the GSP facility.

Tipu Munshi said the US-Bangladesh trade is increasing favouring Bangladesh as the United States is the country's single largest market with exports of apparels averaging $ 6.0 billion a year.

While US shipment to Bangladesh is also on the rice in recent times, the businessman-turned politician stressed the need for finding more export baskets to the US.

He said the government is investor-friendly and urged the US investors to invest in Bangladesh to help improve the trade and business relationship.

The US ambassador highlighted the US exports to Bangladesh, which surged 43 per cent to $ 2.1 billion last year compared with a year ago.

The two-way trade, which was $ 8.2 billion, has doubled over the last 10 years.

"The United States continues to be the largest investor in Bangladesh, and the single largest export destination," the Ambassador added.

This year's new participants include Diagnostic Automation Inc, Parasound, the Kelllogg Company, and Apple.


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