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Intense Lobbying from Bangladesh Saves $1 Billion Industry, Thousands of Jobs

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The Parliament of Canada has announced that it will amend its criteria for General Preferential Tariff (GPT) status, thanks in no small part to persistent lobbying and considerable diplomacy from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, which enjoys GPT (tax free) status, annually exports $1 billion in ready-made garments to Canada. This robust trade relationship was threatened when, in December, a guideline was proposed requiring that goods must be sourced, as well as shipped, primarily from GPT-status counties to receive tax exemptions. More than 90% of the materials used in garments exported from Bangladesh are sourced from countries expected to graduate from GPT status in 2014 (notably India, China, and Thailand), which would all but disqualify Bangladesh from preferential treatment.

The guideline, of course, sparked a wave of intense lobbying from Bangladesh, which has apparently been met with success. On April 5, the Canadian Government announced that benefits to Bangladesh (and other GPT-status countries) will not be reduced after the anticipated graduations.

 In a statement, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada, Kamrul Ahsan, thanked the Canadian government, adding that the decision would not only preserve Bangladesh’s trade partnership with Canada, but also save thousands of jobs in Bangladesh’s apparel industry.

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