The United States remains the main export market for Bangladeshi garments

America will continue to be a major export destination for garments made in Bangladesh as Washington works with Dhaka to improve conditions in factories across the country, a senior US official has said.

The United States has been Bangladesh’s main export destination for decades.

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Its position was maintained despite higher inflationary pressure on consumers resulting from escalating commodity prices amid the Russian-Ukrainian war and the fallout from Covid-19.

Bangladesh’s overall exports to the United States grew by 49.35% to $10.41 billion in fiscal year 2021-22, the highest pace of growth, according to data from the Promotion Bureau. exports. Revenue was $6.97 billion in 2020-21.

Apparel shipments brought in $9.01 billion in the last fiscal year, growing 51.68% year-on-year from $5.94 billion a year earlier.

“We are working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to address a number of issues we have identified as well as with a number of business partners in Bangladesh to strengthen labor rights,” said Arun Venkataraman, Deputy Secretary at the Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service in Dhaka last week.

He was in Dhaka to open the new American Trade Service Center in the capital.

The United States is working with the government, the International Labor Organization, and the European Union to improve working conditions and rights in Bangladesh.

“I think we can consider supporting Bangladesh as one of the most competitive garment producers in the US market,” Venkataraman said when asked if America would provide export opportunities in duty free for locally made garments to US markets.

“We recognize and appreciate the important role of the garment sector in Bangladesh.”

Currently, the United States does not offer any country duty-free market access, known as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The term of the last GSP program ended in 2020 and the US Congress has not revived it since.

The United States suspended the SGP facility for Bangladesh in 2013, citing poor labor rights and workplace safety following two industrial disasters – the Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse.

Venkataraman said American companies are incredibly enthusiastic about investing in the energy sector.

“They are really going beyond traditional energy to new form of energy, renewable energy, other sustainable energy elements and green technology to invest in Bangladesh.”

According to him, American companies see Bangladesh as a major market as the country moves up the development ladder and millions of people are lifted out of the poverty line and into the middle class.

“Every sector is open to growth.”

American entrepreneurs want to invest in healthcare, digital economy, technology, infrastructure, dredging and Dhaka airport expansion.

The senior official stresses that US investors want a stable and predictable regulatory environment shaped by the rule of law and transparency.

“They are looking for ways to support the use of digital tools and they are looking for digital policies aligned with international best practices.”

Venkataraman cited another strength of Bangladesh, which is its large pool of skilled labor, which attracts investors.

“Bangladesh is very fortunate to have a large youth workforce which can be a demographic dividend if used properly.”

He said the United States would continue to work with Bangladesh on the proposal to develop a business model, as local apparel exporters have requested tariff concessions on shipping apparel items made from U.S. cotton.

A few years ago, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association proposed to the United States to offer preferential market access to garments made from the main textile raw material imported from the largest economy in the world. world.

During the conversation, Venkataraman hailed the country’s astonishing development success and its rise to the rank of developing country in the group of least developed countries.

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