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Bangladesh wants easier access to US market for garments made with US cotton

Bangladesh wants its apparel products made from American cotton to get duty free access to the US market. The rationale is that both readymade garment manufacturers and cotton growers will benefit and consumers would also benefit as they will be able to buy the products at reasonable prices.

Bangladesh imports a huge amount of cotton from the United States and uses it to make garment products, of which significant portions are shipped back to the US as finished goods. The country also wants reinstatement of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade facilities for Bangladesh goods, which were suspended in June 2013.

But since 2013, with the help of Accord and Alliance, Bangladesh has dramatically transformed its garment and apparel factories, making them among the safest in the world. The country also has already met all three UN criteria necessary for graduating from LDC status in 2024. Bangladesh imported 4,59,000 bales of cotton from the US in the last fiscal year, which amounted to 6.85 per cent of the country’s total cotton imports of 6,700,000 bales.

The country’s exporters are among the highest tariff payers among the 232 exporting nations to the US. For Bangladesh, tariffs are 15.2 per cent of the value of all its shipments.