Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told parliament on Tuesday that Bangladesh is yet to get a duty-free access of its goods to the market in the United States of America.
“But, the government has been trying to take the facilities under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement between Bangladesh and the US,” he told the House while responding to a question from lawmaker Ashim Kumar Ukil.The day’s business began around 4:40pm in the House with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
The commerce minister said some 90 percent of the Bangladeshi goods exported to the US are readymade garments.
“The country is not facing any trouble in exporting garments despite the GSP ban,” he said.
After the Rana Plaza collapse, the USA suddenly scrapped the GSP facilities and put 16 conditions to get back the facilities.
“All the conditions have been met. Yet, if they have any requirement, we will fulfill it. Discussions are on. We hope that the issue will be resolved through talks,” he said.
The minister said Bangladesh exports some $6 billion to the USA and imports some $1.7 billon.“It would have been better if we get the generalised system of preference (GSP) facilities. But, we are not getting the facilities,” he said.
Responding to another question on the increase in rice price after the national election, the minister said the government directed local administrations to take legal measures against the dishonest traders for raising rice price by creating an artificial crisis.
“As some dishonest traders tried to increase rice prices by creating an artificial crisis, divisional and deputy commissioners have been asked to take legal action against them,” he said while replying to a question from Selim Altaf George.
The minister alleged that the dishonest traders tried to increase rice prices despite huge stock.
“The rice price is now stable for constant monitoring by the ministry,” he said.
Mentioning the ministry’s steps, he said some 14 teams have been engaged in monitoring kitchen markets in Dhaka city to keep stable the prices of essential commodities.
“As the two teams monitor markets, prices of essential commodities and rice have remained stable,” he said.