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BD drops GSP issue

Briefs US over economic strength

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UNB, Dhaka :
Bangladesh has not raised the much-talked-about GSP issue in the Ticfa meeting with the United States on Wednesday but depicted a 'bright and prospective' economic picture that Bangladesh will have over the next 10-20 years.
"It's a new and dynamic Bangladesh what you (US) are seeing today. This Bangladesh belongs to the new generation and this Bangladesh will be more dynamic day by day," Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque told reporters apparently showing Bangladesh's strength in various areas.
He said, the countries which are walking together with Bangladesh today will be able to say in the future that they were with Bangladesh in its journey towards development without opposing Bangladesh.
In June 2013, the then Obama Administration suspended the eligibility of Bangladesh for tariff benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme which is designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry.
Commerce Secretary (in charge) Shubhashish Bose who led Bangladesh side in the of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) meeting, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat also spoke at the joint press conference at State guesthouse Padma.
The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh side wanted to know the trade policy of the new US Administration and how those policies will have influence on Bangladesh's trade.
The US side updated Bangladesh with the trade policies assuring that the US will not deviate from its open trade policy, he said.
The Foreign Secretary also said Bangladesh wanted to know what steps are being taken by the US in implementing the WTO decisions on trade issues.
Shubhashish Bose said Bangladesh demanded fair prices for Bangladeshi products in the US market and easing further duty-free access of its products and services to the US market.
He said Bangladesh also sought support on technology transfer, digital economy and increased investment in various areas.
Asked about the significance of Ticfa if GSP issue is not discussed, US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat said, "If you think Ticfa is only producing specific results, you're missing the point of Ticfa."
The US envoy said they talked about ways to expand trade and investment between the two countries as their aim is to reduce the trade deficit. The US side sought 'non-discriminatory and transparent' tendering process in any bidding while Bangladesh said the entire process is transparent.
The US side also talked about a level-playing field for doing business and making investment here smoother.
The Labour Secretary briefed the US side the progress made so far and described the steps being taken to address US' areas on concern.
Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs Mark Linscott led the 13-member US side comprising US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat.
This was the first such bilateral meeting after the Trump Administration assumed office.
The third Ticfa meeting was originally scheduled for December 13, 2016 but was apparently delayed for recently held elections in the US.
The first Ticfa meeting was held in Dhaka in April 2014 and the second annual meeting in Washington, DC.

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