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Bangladesh Commerce Minister slams US for callous attitude


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Tofail Ahmed Bangladesh

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The firebrand Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tofail Ahmed has again condemned the US for their discordance and callousness on Bangladesh’s demand for duty-free and quota-free access to the US market.

In this regard, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said that the US has only offered duty-free-quota-free (DFQF) facilities through a multi-country trade pact. She said it is “extremely unlikely” outside of a multilateral agreement to enjoy DFQF market access to the US market. Bernicat argued that the factories outside the purview of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Bangladesh Accord must also be brought under a consistent and sustainable evaluation. Once all RMG stakeholders follow regulations, Bangladesh might be entitled to the favour. Her statements were enough to indicate that it is a long road ahead for Bangladesh to enjoy this favour.

Also ReadBangladesh demands DFQF access to US market

The Commerce Minister also slammed the US for pressurizing factories to form trade unions, though he said, many countries including the US do not have the required trade unions that they demand in Bangladesh. On this, Bernicat strongly responded by saying that: “It does not have to be union. We never said that, but it has to be some mechanism through which workers can communicate with their managers or owners.”

Further responding to a question on price negotiation, Bernicat said, “I would say the ‘price’ is between the buyers and sellers in any democratic economic system. They’ve to figure out. We aren’t going to dictate buyers.” Giving a prompt reaction on that, Tofail Ahmed underlined, “The industry owners invested large amount of money to overhaul the factories after the Rana Plaza collapse, and yet the price of their products never increased; sadly nobody talks about that…”


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