Revoking GSP hurt Bangladesh’s image: Munshi

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 20:05, Mar 14, 2019 | Updated : 20:05, Mar 14, 2019

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi speaks at the inauguration session of a three-day US trade show at a Dhaka hotel on Thursday (Mar 12). FOCUS BANGLAUrging the US to restore GSP facility, Commerce Ministry Tupi Munshi says the ban has not hurt Bangladesh’s trade but rather the country’s image.
His call, in contrast to his predecessor Tofail Ahmed, came on Thursday (Mar 14) at the inauguration the US Trade Show 2019, which was attended by Ambassador Earl Miller.
“The US should restore the GSP facility. Revoking it has not hurt trade, but it’s an image issue for Bangladesh,” Munshi said.
In June 2013, the Obama administration revoked generalized system of preference (GSP) for Bangladesh following the 2012 Tazreen Fashion Fire and the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse.
In 2012, Bangladesh was spared about $2 million in US duties on about $35 million worth of goods under the GSP program, but it paid about $732 million in US duties on $4.9 billion of clothing exports not covered by the program, according to GlobalWorks Foundation.
The US 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 that avenue, but the GSP facilities are yet to be restored.
Munshi’s predecessor Tofail has said on several occasion that Bangladesh does not expect any privileges from the US under the GSP scheme and not request to restore it anymore.
Addressing Thursday’s event, Munshi, however, said he expects Ambassador Miller’s help to restore the trade privileges.
Describing Bangladesh as an ideal destination for investment, the commerce minister urged US investors to avail the facilities the government provides in its 100 special economic zones.
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.
This year 46 exhibitors occupying 74 booths are displaying their products and services. Two seminars – Education USA and Business Visas - will be held during the three-day show at the Pan Pacific Sonargoan Hotel.