Sunday, November 18, 2018 | ePaper

4th TICFA meet on Sept 13

Market access, fair price for apparels top agenda

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Bangladesh and the United States of America (USA) will hold the fourth round of the TICFA Council meeting on September 13 in Washington with a view to promoting bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.
The Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday organized a workshop to finalize agenda for the upcoming TICFA (Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement) meeting held in the conference room of the ministry.
Commerce Secretary Shubhashis Bose remained present in the workshop as chief guest, while Director General of WTO Cell Md Munir Chowdhury made a presentation over the major issues.
Officials from different ministries, departments and organizations were present at the workshop and discussed the matters to be raised in the next TICFA meeting which will be co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose and Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative.
"The issues of mutual economic cooperation and engagement covered under the TICFA deal will largely focus in discussion in the meeting," a Senior Commerce Ministry official told The New Nation after the workshop on condition of anonymity.
He said the Bangladesh side will raise the issue of market access of local products in the US market, tariff reforms, US investment in economic zones of Bangladesh, technology transfer and trade related capacity building and the TFA (Trade Facilitation Agreement) implementation assistance.
The cumulative US investment in Bangladesh reached US$ 3.3 billion in 2017.
"The issue of fair price and ethical buying practice by American buyers will also be raised at the meeting considering the latest development in local garment industry," said the Commerce Ministry official.
He also said local garment industry has made tremendous progress (after the Rana Plaza disaster) in factory remediation and workplace safety and labour rights issues in line with recommendations by Accord and Alliance, two platforms of western buyers. Now, we expect the American buyers will comply with the ethical buying practice while sourcing apparels from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh exported goods worth $6.0 billion in the US market in the just concluded fiscal year (2017-18) and ready-made garments covered 90 per cent of the total export goods.
The country's apparel products are paying the highest tax among the garment exporting countries while entering into the US market.
When asked, the Commerce Ministry official said, the USA wants market access of its products like cotton, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, insurance and digital economy from Bangladesh, and it may raise the issue in the next TICFA meet.
Official sources said, a video conference regarding the preparation of the fourth TICFA Council meeting was held on 6 June 2018.
In that video conference, matters of Bangladesh interest issues such as fair price for its apparel products, investment opportunities, technology transfer, investment in economic zones of Bangladesh, capacity building and infrastructure development for the implementation of TFA, Graduation support etc. were discussed.
The US side shown interest on market access and investment issues, customs and supplementary duties, double fumigation requirement for US Cotton, WTO issues and labour update.      
Bangladesh and USA signed the TICFA agreement on 25 November 2013. The first TICFA Council meeting was held in April 2014 in Dhaka, the second in November 2015 in Washington and the third in May 2014 in Dhaka.   

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