Bangladesh has consistently been one of the lowest-cost places to produce product, but the country fears that competitive advantage could be in jeopardy with the passage of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.
At a meeting with U.S. Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Tom Marino (R-Pa.) in Washington, D.C. this week, Bangladesh Ambassador to the U.S. Mohammad Ziauddin discussed Bangladesh’s trade relations with the U.S., according to the Dhaka Tribune.
The U.S. receives nearly one quarter of Bangladesh’s exports, namely in the ready made garment (RMG) sector, but, according to Ziauddin, those apparel products are subject to high tariffs heading into America, tariffs other least developed countries aren’t contending with.
In June 2013, President Obama suspended Bangladesh’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits over concerns about its worker’s rights and safety issues following the deadly Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen factory fire.
And Bangladesh believes it’s time to get some of those trade preferences back.
Ziauddin reportedly urged the Congressmen to provide preferential market access for Bangladeshi products as afforded to developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, and to reinstate GSP.
If the 12-nation free trade agreement the U.S. is negotiating with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, gets finalized and implemented, those countries could lure business from Bangladesh because of the duty free privileges.