Bangladesh has emerged, in just under a decade, as the twelfth largest garment-manufacturing nation in the world, thanks largely to the Multi-Fiber Agreement (MFA), and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union, that conferred significant quota benefits to the country. The garment sector now accounts for about 77% of the countryâ€™s foreign exchange earnings, and 50% of its industrial work force. Bangladesh has now become a significant supplier to both North America and Europe. More than 50% of Bangladeshâ€™s garment exports go to the countries of the European Union, and 44% to the United States. Bangladesh would renew its campaign to get duty-free or the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facilities for its products in the US market when the new US Congress resumes its session in January 2011, reports BSS.
Duty free access of goods will save around US$ 375 million a year helping Bangladesh to divert the money in implementing the projects taken for achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG), said Bangladesh Ambassador in Washington Akramul Qader in an interview with the news agency at his office here today.He said tariff rate for importing goods from least developed countries except African countries are very high in the USA. Bangladesh now yearly exports goods of around US$ 3.7 billion in USA for which the country needs to pay 16 to 32 per cent tariff, he added. The Ambassador said Bangladesh, as a member of LDC group, has been trying for long to get quota free access of its goods in the US market that is being given to African countries under African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
He said the campaign of getting GSP facilities slowed down when a bill placed by Congressman Mc Dermott in the US House was turned down in November 2009. If we are permitted to duty free export to the US market, it will get a significant price advantage and will be able to increase exports substantially, the envoy said. He said Bangladeshâ€™s pharmaceuticals and ship-building are the two most potential sectors which might have enormous future in the US market. Regarding relationship between Bangladesh and USA the Ambassador said the relationship between Bangladesh and USA now lies on â€˜Three Dâ€™ Democracy, Development and Denial of space to terrorismâ€™.
â€œThe USA government is happy to see that democracy and development are flourishing in full swing in Bangladesh and leaders of the country are committed to fight against terrorism,â€ he said. The US government particularly gives high value to the pledge of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of showing â€˜zero toleranceâ€™ to any sort of terrorism, the envoy said adding that the US- Bangladesh relation is now evolving on the three particular issues.
He said Washington and Dhaka are jointly working for sustaining the democracy and development process in Bangladesh. As food security and public health are vital for development, the US administration is ready to support Bangladesh to build up its food autarky and development of health sector in the coming days, he said. The envoy said the US government is also keen to strengthen relations with Bangladesh in the areas of trade and commerce and fighting terrorism to sustain democracy and pace of progress.
Though Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country, the USA government is pleased to note that it is based on a â€˜moderate viewâ€™, religious tolerance and women empowerment, the envoy said. The US government is keen to support Bangladesh to strengthen its capacity in these areas.