Bangladesh seeks duty free access to US market for RMG, more investment in health and ICT



Bangladesh has sought duty-free access of Bangladeshi readymade garments to the US market for two years, as the sector faces rising challenges with the coronavirus pandemic laying a heavy toll on it.

In a telephone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said RMG workers, mainly women, have fallen into uncertainty as buyers from various countries — including the US — cancelled orders from Bangladesh.

Momen also requested the US to invest in Bangladesh’s health sector under the US International Development Finance Corporation, as well as in economic zones, saying that Bangladesh wants to see diversification in foreign investment.

He said investment in Hi-Tech Parks and the ICT sector in Bangladesh will be profitable for the US due to availability of a skilled work force, according to a foreign ministry statement today.

During the conversation, Bangladesh and the United States renewed commitments to support the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.

Momen emphasised on partnership and mutual cooperation as the Covid-19 pandemic puts the world into total uncertainty.

Pompeo stressed on the importance of transparency and access to information for long-term economic stability and sustainable development. He reaffirmed the importance of the Bangladesh-US relationship and discussed continued cooperation to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the US provided more than $43 million in Covid-19 assistance, and stressed that the role of Bangladesh is critical in the international response to the pandemic by manufacturing emergency medical and protective supplies.

Secretary Pompeo appreciated Bangladesh for advancing to Tier-2 in the Trafficking in Persons report, released recently.

Secretary Pompeo commended Foreign Minister Momen for Bangladesh’s continued generousity in hosting Rohingya refugees, said Spokesperson at US Department of State Morgan Ortagus.

The United States has contributed nearly $820 million in humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas, most of which is for programs within Bangladesh.

Momen also urged the US Secretary of State to hand over Rashed Chowdhury, killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to execute the court verdict against him.

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