US, Brazil urged not to slap duty on RMG made from their cotton

Moinul Haque | Published: 22:24, Feb 20,2017


The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has proposed that the governments of the United States and Brazil should consider duty-free market access for the Bangladeshi readymade garment products which are made from cotton imported from the US and Brazil.
The BGMEA has recently sent separate letters to the authorities of the US and Brazil with the proposal, leaders of the trade body told New Age.
Now Bangladesh imports 2.96 million bales of cotton a year, According to BGMEA sources.
Signed by BGMEA president Md Siddiqur Rahman, one letter was sent to the US ambassador to Bangladesh on February 16 and another was sent to the foreign ministry of Bangladesh on Sunday, requesting it to take government-to-government initiative between Bangladesh and Brazil on the issue.
In the letter to the US ambassador, the BGMEA said that Bangladesh was the second largest cotton importer in the world and the country had long been importing cotton from the US to make apparels for exports.
Citing statistics, the BGMEA said that Bangladesh’s total global import of cotton in 2004 was 29.65 lakh bales and the country imported from the US only 1.01 lakh bales in the year.
‘We firmly believe that cotton import from the US will grow significantly if the apparel products made of the US cotton receive a favourable treatment in terms of tariff in accessing the US market,’ the BGMEA said in the letter.
It also proposed that the US government should extend duty-free market access for the Bangladeshi products made from the cotton of US origin saying that such a measure would create a win-win situation for the bilateral trade between the two countries.
‘We would deeply appreciate if you pay serious attention to the proposal and take it up with the competent authorities of the US government,’ the BGMEA said in its letter to the US ambassador.
The BGMEA made the same proposal to Brazil and requested the Bangladesh foreign ministry to negotiate the issue with the South American nation.
The apparel sector trade body said that Brazil was a very potential market for Bangladesh’s apparel products but 30 to 35 per cent import duty put in place by Brazil was an obstacle to accessing the market.
We need to find a way to secure duty-free access to the Brazilian market,’ the trade body said in its letter to the foreign ministry.
Citing a decision taken at the ministerial conference of World Trade Organisation in Hong Kong in 2005, the BGMEA said, ‘As a large developing economy and also as a member of BRICS, Brazil may look into our request for duty-free market access for the apparel products [made from cotton of Brazil origin].’

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