The third-round meeting of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA), scheduled to be held here on December 13, has been postponed for the installation of the new government in the United States after the recent election.
"The meeting would be held in March or April on the availability of suitable time," Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said today at a press briefing after a meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat at his ministry.
"While the new government would assume in office, the USTR would also be changed . . . So, we have to wait for the new officials," said the minister.
Mentioning that Bangladesh and the US have signed TICFA to strengthen trade cooperation, he said but, Bangladesh is yet to reap the outcome of the agreement.
Congratulating President-elect Donald Trump, Tofail Ahmed said he (Trump) has declared that TPP would be cancelled under his 100-day activities, as it is totally against the principle of the WTO. "Bangladesh would benefit after the cancellation of TPP."
Turning on the GSP, the commerce minister said the US is not providing the facilities for Bangladesh due to political grounds. "Although Bangladesh has fulfilled the conditions fixed by the USTR, the GSP has been postponed only on political grounds."
Bangladesh has earned US$ 6220.64 million from the export to the US while imported goods of US$ 1006.10 million in last fiscal. Bangladesh used to export RMG, tobacco, plastic, ceramics, leather and leather goods etc.
"Our commitment would continue to strengthen trade and commercial cooperation with Bangladesh," said Bernicat while talking at the briefing about the TICFA meeting.
She said the new government would bring new opportunities through the meeting in early next year for Bangladesh.
Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, additional secretary (FTA) M Shariful Islam and officials concerned were present.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)