Bangladesh has focused on preferential market access of the RMG exports to the United States at the sixth meeting of the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) in Washington.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti and Assistant US Trade Representative (USTR) for South and Central Asia Christopher Wilson led their respective delegations at the meeting yesterday (Tuesday), according to a statement BSS received today (Wednesday).
The Bangladesh side also included Labour Secretary Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Agriculture Secretary Md. Sayedul Islam, Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Muhammad Imran and high officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce and the ICT Division.
At the outset of the meeting, Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi welcomed the Bangladesh delegation to the 6th TICFA meeting.
Sarah said that Bangladesh’s socioeconomic strides have made this TICFA meeting more relevant than any time for both the countries.
The major areas discussed at the meeting were market access of Bangladeshi goods to the US, production sharing of US cotton-based RMG, trade and investment climate, intellectual property rights, technical cooperation for quality certification infrastructure, labour issues and IDFC funding.
The commerce secretary mentioned that comparing to other countries, Bangladesh now pays the highest tariff on its apparel export to the United States which profusely reduces Bangladesh’s competitiveness in the US market.
The both sides discussed removing fumigation on the imported US cotton.
The Bangladesh delegation proposed ‘zero’ tariffs on the export of finished apparels made of US cotton being exported to the USA.
The head of US delegation Assistant USTR Wilson agreed to continue further discussion on the issue.
The US side requested to simplify the profit repatriation for the US investment in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh delegation assured of examining the issue upon return to Dhaka.
Among others, both sides discussed the proposed Data Protection Act, biotechnology in agriculture, simplifying registration of Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals with USFDA, tariff reduction on tree nuts export to Bangladesh and simplifying seed act provision for US access to the seed market in Bangladesh.
Both sides agreed to hold the 7th TICFA meeting in October 2023 in Dhaka.