Bangladesh seeks duty-free access of its goods into US


The request in this regard was made by the visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni during her meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

"With regard to trade, I especially requested for duty-free and quota-free access for Bangladeshi products into the US market," Moni said at a joint press conference with Clinton after the meeting.

"With respect to the foreign minister's very clear request for duty-free access, we have a vibrant trade relationship now, and it has been growing, and we look forward to continuing to grow that trade," Clinton said.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including enhanced trade opportunities, US investment in Bangladesh and cooperation in the area of counterterrorism besides debt relief for the country.

Moni also apprised Clinton about the negative impacts of recession on Bangladesh. "We have also discussed regional and international issues, particularly the issues of climate change and the current global financial crisis," she said.

"I also drew her attention to the increased cost of development endeavours due to climate change, and underscored the need for developed countries to assist in adaptation and mitigation," Moni said.

Clinton said the two leaders specifically talked about Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

"Bangladesh currently receives preferential tariff treatment for hundreds of products through the generalised system of preferences, and we're going to work to see how Bangladesh can diversify its exports based on what already exists, because we now believe we have a government with whom we can really explore these questions," Clinton said.

The top US diplomat said the partnership between the two countries is strong and growing stronger. "We are united by shared values, common interests, and a commitment to work together to strengthen democracy, promote economic development, deny space to terrorists and create a more peaceful and prosperous future," she said.

Noting that the December parliamentary elections were widely viewed as fairest in Bangladesh's history, Clinton said the country now has the opportunity to build on this success, strengthen its democratic institutions and come together around an agenda that the prime minister has set for the future.

"The US stands ready to work with Bangladesh. We will work to enhance economic opportunities. The foreign minister and I discussed the possibility of a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement. That would make it easier for US companies and investors to expand their activities in Bangladesh and increase trade," Clinton said.

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