Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen urged the United States to lift import duties on Bangladeshi readymade garments, produced from cotton imported from the USA.
He also called for increased and diversified US investment in Bangladesh.
About 14% of the total local demand for cotton in the garment industry is met by imports from the US, and the US is the main export market for garments produced from cotton. However, in the case of RMG exports to the US, the tariff is up to 56%.
Momen thanked the USA for providing corona vaccines and assistance in the Rohingya issue.
"In recent days, we are facing difficulties in getting vaccines. Initially, the US gave us 5.5 million covid-19 vaccines, and they have committed to provide a further 29 million doses," he said while addressing a programme held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary ceremony of the American Chamber Of Commerce in Bangladesh on Thursday.
The foreign minister said, "The USA makes the largest foreign direct investment in BD, which is about 25% of total foreign investment. Mostly, they are investing in energy sectors. But, it is the time for the USA to diversify investment."
The event was held at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Intercontinental and was presided over by Amcham President Sayed Ershad Ahmed.
At this event, 10 organisations were awarded the CSR Excellence Award 2021. Citibank NA, Coca-Cola and Standard Chartered Bank were awarded the Top CSR Excellence Award.
At the event, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller laid emphasis on transparency in tenders and equitable treatment of all businesses.
He said, "The volume of business between Bangladesh and USA has increased by 500% in 25 years. Earlier, the trade between the two countries was mainly readymade garments, but now agricultural products and machinery have been added."
He said the US export to Bangladesh was $2.3 billion in 2019, which decreased significantly in 2020 due to Covid-19. But the two way trade is growing again, in the first nine months of this year it increased by 33% compared to the same period of the last year.
"The USA is number one in making foreign direct investment but there is opportunity to increase it further. To increase the US FDI in Bangladesh, AmCham can play a vital role," said Salman F Rahman, economic adviser to the prime minister.
He said, "The country's economy has improved a lot in the last 12 years. The development of the power sector has played a big role in the growth of businesses in different sectors of the country. The economy has diversified and people's purchasing capacity has increased."
"The next step after LDC graduation is very important. We will get stuck in the middle income trap if proper action is not taken. Many countries have not been able to advance to the next level due to this trap after LDC graduation," he added.