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Ticfa may be a vehicle for GSP retention: USTR

  • Published at 03:24 am July 29th, 2013
Ticfa may be a vehicle for GSP retention: USTR

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has said the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) could be a vehicle for the retention of the Generalised System of Preferences.

It said the Ticfa would likely be signed in September, either in Washington or in Dhaka.

USTR Ambassador Michael B Froman made these remarks at a meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador to Washington Akramul Qader on July 25.

The meeting was also attended by assistant USTR for South Asia Michael J Delaney and Deputy Director of the Department of Labour Timothy Wedding.

Commercial Counselor Md Shafiqul Islam of the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington informed Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed of the meeting on July 26 through e-mail.

US President Barack Obama suspended Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities on June 27 following the Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1,132 garment factory workers.

Ambassador Michael B Froman said the Ticfa signing ceremony could take place during a visit by the US Secretary of State John Kerry to Dhaka or a bilateral visit by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Washington DC in September this year. He said the state department had been notified.

The email read that Froman underscored the urgency for signing the agreement.

The USTR ambassador proposed the commencement of a Bangladesh-US working group on GSP which

might hold meetings at various levels on a regular basis to work on its action plan.

Ambassador Froman said the working group on GSP might start the meeting either in Dhaka or in Washington, or through digital video conferences.

The email also suggests that the Ticfa would provide a platform to discuss the entire gamut of trade relations between the two countries.

The USTR said the Ticfa could be a vehicle for GSP retention.

Last week, the foreign ministry sent the cabinet-endorsed draft of Ticfa to the USTR for US approval.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said the entire process of signing the Ticfa would be looked after by the foreign ministry, and so he would not comment on the signing date.

“We have done all preparations for singing the Ticfa and it is not tagged with the GSP,” he said.