Again expressing his optimism, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Wednesday said that unless considered from political point of view, Bangladesh will soon get back the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facility in the US market.
“Unless there is any political link-up with the GSP, we’ll get back the facility soon,” he said at a luncheon meeting with the foreign investors in the capital.
Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized the meeting at Sonargaon Hotel.
Tofail Ahmed said the present government has already fulfilled most of the 16 conditions of the USTR (United States Trade Representative) for retaining the trade preferences in the US market, and the remaining conditions will be fulfilled by March next.
About the outcome of the 9th Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, he said the meeting decided that duty-free access would be given to the least developed countries (LDCs). “I hope, the USA would allow duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to their market.”
The Commerce Minister said Bangladesh export goods worth US$ 5.5 billion to the USA annually with US$ 30 million worth of products under the GSP. “And who were the beneficiaries of this? It’s the American buyers.”
He said Bangladesh’s earning from exports in the first six months (July-December) of the current fiscal (2013-14) was 3.08 percent higher than the target. “And all the indicators show that a congenial business atmosphere is prevailing here.”
About the 10th general election, Tofail said it was not a participatory one as the opposition parties did not take part in the polls. “But, we’re not responsible… opposition parties did not respond to our repeated calls to join talks and take part in the polls.”
Replying to a query, he said that in future, the government will be very tough in dealing with the troublemakers who resort to violence in the name of political programmes, as it costs everyone — businessmen and poor people alike.
FICCI president Rupali Chowdhury, its executive director MA Matin and member Jim McCabe were, among others, present.