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Dhaka Tribune

'More to be done to retain GSP'

Update : 28 Apr 2014, 02:41 PM

Bangladesh has made progress with the terms to get the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) back, but much work was still to be done, said Michael J Delaney, assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia.

He made the remarks while talking to journalists after the first meeting on Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (Ticfa) at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital on Monday afternoon.

A delegation of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) led by Michael J Delaney, is now in Dhaka for the first forum meeting.

During today's meeting, the GSP Action Plan has been reviewed as retaining GSP facilities for Bangladeshi exports in the US is one of the top agendas of today’s Ticfa meeting.

The USTR delegation has 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 the 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 the crowded press conference.

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.

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.

The US suspended the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities in June last year citing Bangladesh’s failure in cementing labour rights in the wake of the fatal back-to-back industrial disasters.

Earlier on Sunday, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed held a meeting with Michael J Delaney and US Ambassador Dan Mozena at the Secretariat and expressed hope about getting duty- and quota-free access to the US market for Bangladeshi exports.

On November 25, Bangladesh signed the Ticfa with the USA to promote bilateral trade.

The legally non-binding Ticfa that emphasises on curbing protectionism, was signed after 12 years’ of negotiation.

Bangladesh exports goods worth around $5bn every year to the USA, of which 90% is readymade garments.

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