Bangladesh’s export to remain competitive even with TPP Dhaka may qualify for TPP+ in future: Bernicat

The United States on Monday said Bangladeshi exports will remain ‘competitive’ in the US market, especially the RMG export adopting the international standards on workers safety and rights, even it concludes TPP (Tran-Pacific Partnership) deal.
“I fully expect Bangladesh is going to remain competitive, especially RMG (readymade garment) sector adopts international standards,” said US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat responding to a UNB question at a programme, reports UNB.
The Ambassador said Bangladesh might one day qualify for the TPP. “I think that’s an excellent topic for the upcoming Ticfa (Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement).”
The US is currently negotiating with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam to sign TPP.
The TPP is a comprehensive agreement that will open markets, set high-standard trade rules and address 21st-century issues in the global economy. In doing so, it’ll promote jobs and growth in the US and across the Asia Pacific region.
There is a perception that Bangladesh will lose its competitive edge in apparel trade if the TPP deal is signed.
The US Ambassador said there had been a meeting recently and they are in a process to conclude TPP. “Once we have that deal, it’ll cover 40 per cent of the world trade and will help promote development and stability.”
After finalisation, the TPP draft will go to the Congress. “Once our Congress ratifies it, then each country in order to subscribe TPP has to meet the number of conditions,” Bernicat said.
At present, Bangladesh pays 15.62 per cent duty for its garment exports to the US, whereas Vietnam pays 8.38 per cent.
If the TPP is signed, garment exports from Vietnam will enter the American market completely without duty.
Bernicat, however, said there is good news and if Bangladesh can meet the same international standards, its economy can enjoy more robust trade in the US. “You’ll remain more competitive by adopting those standards.”
On GSP issue, she said there are areas of relationship that require more work. “I can think of no better example than the restoration of GSP. The recent visit of the Assistant United States Trade Representative to assess progress on the Action Plan will help Bangladesh and its partners prepare for the upcoming Sustainability Compact review.”
Despite the GSP suspension, Bernicat said, US imports from Bangladesh has grown consistently as GSP only covers less than 1 per cent of total export.
Then US envoy said she is optimistic about GSP restoration and mentioned that Bangladesh economy must expand into other areas.
Bernicat was addressing the DCAB Talk arranged by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) with its President Masud Karim in the chair. DCAB General Secretary Bashir Ahmed also spoke at the event held at the Jatiya Press Club.