Exporters seek duty-free market access to USA for garment made of US cotton

Published : 25 Sep 2023 09:44 PM | Updated : 25 Sep 2023 09:44 PM

“Our government has already waived the mandatory fumigation requirement for importing cotton from the USA. This will certainly reduce the time and cost of business for our importers. We are now approaching the U.S. government to consider duty-free market access to the U.S.A. for garment made of US cotton”, said speakers at a seminar on Monday. 

They mentioned that since the share of Bangladesh in the USA’s apparel import is only 9.75%, we have a huge opportunity to increase the share further. Bangladesh has already gained the top position in USA’s denim. 

Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) organized the seminar styled “Bangladesh-US Trade and Investment” at ERF office, Paltan in the capital.

John Fay, commercial counselor of the US Embassy in Bangladesh attended the seminar as the chief guest with ERF President Mohammad Refayet Ullah in the chair.

John Fay, while addressing, said there is a possibility of reducing the duty on export of garment items to the USA from Bangladesh. However, he did not elaborate it in his speech.

But, he mentioned some challenges in investment in Bangladesh such as problem of profit repatriation, intellectual property rights, data protection act and challenges of logistics services.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon, BKMEA President and other senior trade leaders were present on the occasion and Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Chairman of RAPID, presented keynote paper on the occasion. 

Referring to the Bangladesh Bank and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, BGMEA President in his speech mentioned that in the last 10 years that means from 2012 to 2022, the bilateral trade between the two countries has increased by 8.64% annually (CAGR). In fiscal year 2021-22, the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the USA was worth USD 13.24 billion, while Bangladesh’s export to and import from the USA were USD 10.41 billion and USD 2.82 billion respectively.  

He said the the USA imported 943.70 million dollar worth of denim from Bangladesh in 2022 which was 22.64% of its total denim import. So far we are doing well in those products in the USA market. But there are a few more product categories where we have the potential to further penetrate. 

Within the textile sector, there are many items particularly woven, non-cotton yarn and fabrics, functional fabrics like polyester, viscose, spandex, mélange, etc. where we have a huge scope of investment. 

Speakers also stressed need for investment in up-scaling innovation, product and design development. We need adequate expertise in technology and modern machinery. 

BGMEA President further said there have been a few issues in trade between the USA and Bangladesh, especially the cotton fumigation requirement while importing cotton from the USA.