GSP is an ‘image issue’ for Bangladesh: Tipu Munshi

PBA, Dhaka: Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi says, Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a trade facilities provided by United States of America for the world’s poor and developing countries, is needed for recovering clean image in the ready-made garments sector of Bangladesh. he said it became an “image issue” and once the GSP scheme is restored, “this will give us a new image”.

He expressed his desire in the capital’s Pan Pacific Sonargoan Hotel, while he opened ‘26th US Trade Show-2019’ in this morning, on Thursday. The minister expected necessary cooperation of USA.

Newly appointed US Ambassador Robert Miller, American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh president Nurul Islam and former president Aftab-Ul-Islam were present in the three-day long trade fair.

The US revoked the GSP facilities on June 27, 2013, following two major industrial accidents in Bangladesh – Tazreen Fashion fire in 2012 and Rana Plaza collapse in 2013.

Under the GSP programme, Bangladesh had benefitted from exporting around 5,000 different items to the US market tariff-free.

The Obama administration had placed a set of conditions including improvement of the working conditions in RMG factories to revive the GSP facilities.

Bangladesh has made considerable progress in improving RMG factory environment and worked on other conditions, but the US has not restored the GSP facilities.

mmediate past Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed last year said Bangladesh was not expecting trade privileges from the GSP programme of the US and would not request for it anymore.

“We don’t expect the GSP facilities from the US anymore because whatever progress we make they are not going to give it back,” Tofail had said.

The new commerce minister, however, expects that the new US ambassador who joined in Dhaka in Nov last year would help reinstate the GSP scheme.

“I am very much hopeful things will be settled in future,” he said.

The US Trade Show is the flagship event of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh or AmCham. Jointly with the US Embassy in Dhaka, they are organising the event since 1992 when the bilateral trade was less than $500 million. The two-way trade is now over $8 billion.

PBA/AH

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