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High tariff hinders RMG exports to US market: trade analyst PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2008

Agency

Bangladeshi garments face challenges entering the US market as high tariff is imposed on textile products from Asian and Middle Eastern countries, said a US trade policy analyst Wednesday.

Bangladesh recorded $3.4 billion in readymade garments exports last year, which could increase substantially if the US tariff structure was reviewed, said Edward Gresser, one of the directors of Progressive Policy Institute, a US-based nongovernmental organisation.

"A bill in the US Congress has been put forward proposing Bangladesh along with other Asian countries and the Middle East could enjoy the same tariff as the Sub-Sahara African countries get now," he said while speaking at a seminar titled "Livelihood Implication of RMG Industry" organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

Gresser suggested that RMG industry leaders speak to their African counterparts to address the issue. The former member of a trade and commerce body under the Clinton administration said Bangladesh's RMG industry was quite successful and proved wrong the speculations of collapse in the post-multi-fibre arrangement quota period.

MFA was the 10-year phase-out of import quotas under the World Trade Organisation that was supposed to provide for an orderly transition for the world's textile industry to a more open, market-driven economy. "Though the Bangladeshi RMG industry still needs to do a lot regarding compliance issues," said the former US government's trade policy analyst.

Speaking on duty free access by the US on Bangladeshi products he said that it would create job opportunities of 180,000 people of which 144,000 would be women. Senior lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain in his speech as the chief guest stressed meeting the challenges of global economy and specialisations in the RMG sector.

"The country's future depends a lot on the RMG sector." On problems in the industry, Hossain said solutions should be formulated in such a manner that it meets the interests of all stakeholders, including buyers and workers. "Let us all go forward with a problem solving approach," Hossain said.

He stressed coordinated efforts by workers and manufacturers to work out solutions. "Everyone concerned should sit with an open mind with an informative and logical approach to uproot the problems in the sector," Hossain said. The seminar was also attended by industry leaders, NGO representatives and members of labour organisations.

Representatives of workers' organisations said efforts should focus on a broader picture of the problems rather than on specific organisations. They also asked for increased campaigns for new markets and duty-free access to the US.

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