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Bangladesh wants duty-free access to the US

Bangladesh uses cotton imported from the US and Brazil to make readymade garments. It now wants these countries to consider duty-free market access for such garment products. Bangladesh is the second largest cotton importer in the world and the country has long been importing cotton from the US to make apparel for exports. Brazil is also a very potential market for Bangladesh’s apparel products.

Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the US, its single largest destination, have declined 1.96 per cent year-on-year. Garment items account for 95 per cent of the goods exported from Bangladesh to the US market. There is a change in the attitude of US consumers, who now prefer spending more on electronic gadgets compared to clothes. Bangladesh now faces an export duty of 15.62 per cent under America's most favored nations' category.

Bangladesh has long been urging the US to allow it tariff-free market access. The US has already granted unilateral tariff-free market access to African and Caribbean less developed countries. Only Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and a few other Asia-Pacific less developed countries are yet to get the access.

Bilateral trade in goods between Bangladesh and the United States declined slightly in the last calendar year. Both imports from Bangladesh to the US and exports from the US to Bangladesh declined in 2016.