import tax on fire gadgets to be waived

30 April 2014 bdnews24.com


Bangladesh has announced it is eliminating duty on the import of fire-safety equipment in the first US-Bangladesh Ticfa meeting in Dhaka on Monday.
Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Michael Delaney, who led the US side, described the meeting at a joint press briefing as "very productive" and "very pragmatic".
He said the promise on which Ticfa was based was "100 percent" intact.
Dhaka and Washington singed the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) on Nov 25 last year, effective from Jan 13 this year, following more than a decade of talks.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed led the Bangladesh side.
The two sides ironed out issues that Delaney said "inhibit" trade and investment. He said Ticfa was aimed at removing obstacles that stand in the way of boosting two-way trade.
Delaney said the meeting gave them better understanding that he believed "would be a good foundation to solve problems on the way". "We learnt a lot. Our delegation learnt a lot".
He said they were gratified to hear Bangladesh's announcement that it was going to eliminate tariff on equipment necessary to improve fire safety in the ready-made clothes industry.
The Commerce Secretary said they had reviewed bilateral trade and investment situation, GSP action plans, and discussed market access of goods and services, US investment in Bangladesh, transfer of technology, implementation of the Bali package and progress of the Istanbul plan of action.
He said the US side raised the issues of tariff on fire, electricity and structural safety equipment, public tender specifications, double fumigation of cotton from the US, diabetes drugs, currency issue, delayed payment, intellectual property rights and regional cooperation.
He said they had also discussed labour affairs and women employment raised by the US delegation.
He, however, did not specify outcome of all the issues the two sides raised, but maintained that the discussion was "very fruitful".
"We discussed a wide range of trade and investment issues and ways to boost US-Bangladesh trade and investment," the secretary said in the crowded press briefing.
Delaney said they basically tried to look at where they were right now in terms of implementing GSP Action Plan and recommended that more works need to be done.
He specified that implementation of the amended labour law and full-fledged factory safety inspection issues remained unfulfilled. But the meeting was "highly successful". "It's a great start. We look forward to working together."
The meeting was held amid scepticism about the US-Bangladesh relations particularly after the Jan 5 elections that US did not find 'credible'.
The US suspended GSP privilege that some of Bangladesh's products were enjoying its market in June last year after the Rana Plaza disaster.
The US administration has been maintaining that the decision was not to penalise Bangladesh, rather to send a strong signal about the urgent need to address factory safety concerns.
But Bangladesh's ambassador to Washington Akramul Qader recently said the US decision did not help the clothing industry recover from the shocks of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions fire, rather "put the workforce into jeopardy".

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