Bangladesh has proposed zero tariff on finished apparel products — made with American cotton — being exported to the US.
Bangladesh made the proposal at the 6th meeting of the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) held in Washington DC on 6 December.
Compared to other countries, Bangladesh now pays the highest tariff on its apparel products exported to the United States, which profusely reduces Bangladesh's competitiveness in the US market.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, and Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative (USTR) for South and Central Asia, led the Bangladesh and US delegations respectively at the meeting.
The head of US delegation Wilson agreed to continue further discussion on the proposal made by Bangladesh.
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 stepped in and welcomed the Bangladesh delegation to the 6th TICFA meeting in Washington.
Sarah said that Bangladesh's socioeconomic strides have made the TICFA meeting more relevant than any other time for both 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 Bangladesh delegation focused on the preferential market access of the RMG exports to the United States.
Both sides discussed removing fumigation on the imported US cotton.
The US side requested to simplify the profit repatriation for the US investment in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh delegation assured to examine 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, said the Bangladesh Embassy on Wednesday.