6th Ticfa meeting held in Washington
Bangladesh urges enhanced market access to USA
Minara Helen: The 6th Meeting of the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) was held in Washington D.C. today (6 December 2022). Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, and Mr. Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative (USTR) for South and Central Asia, led the Bangladesh and US delegations respectively to the meeting.
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 Ms Sarah Bianchi stepped in and welcomed the Bangladesh delegation to the 6th TICFA Meeting in Washington D.C. In her short opening remarks, Ms Sarah said that Bangladesh’s socioeconomic strides have made this TICFA Meeting more relevant than any time for both the 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 & 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. The Commerce Secretary mentioned that comparing to other countries, Bangladesh now pays the highest tariff on its apparel export to the United States which profusely reduces Bangladesh’s competitiveness in the US market.
The both sides discussed removing fumigation on the imported US cotton. The Bangladesh delegation proposed ‘zero’ tariffs on the export of finished apparels made of US cotton being exported to the USA. The head of US delegation Assistant USTR Wilson agreed to continue further discussion on the subject.
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.