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Bangladesh PM for duty-free access to US market
Publication Date : 01-05-2012
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the United States to allow duty and quota free access of Bangladeshi products to boost trade relations between the two countries.
"Bangladeshi products get duty and quota free access to the European Union and many other developed countries. India has also provided us with the facility for our garment products. So why not the USA?" she questioned.
She was addressing a function after opening the Muchai Compressor Station, the country's first ever gas compressor station in Bahubal upazila of Habiganj.
Chevron Bangladesh launched the station. The compressor at the station will increase the capacity of the national grid by about 50 million cubic feet of gas per day.
"The USA is a big country and a big market…. It is our people's demand to get duty and quota free access to the US," maintained Hasina.
The US offers the facility to all the least developed countries except Bangladesh, she pointed out. "I don't know why."
Her comments came just four days ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Bangladesh.
The prime minister said during the rule of Awami League government in 1996-2001, the US investment in Bangladesh was US$25 million. "Later, we've been able to increase it to $1 billion."
She asked Dan Mozena, US Ambassador to Bangladesh, to convey this message to his government. The ambassador was present at the occasion.
Mozena said the strong partnership between the two countries is getting stronger.
The US is the largest export destination of Bangladesh and the US is also the single largest investor in Bangladesh, he added.
The envoy said his country has been assisting Bangladesh to fulfil its power and energy demands so that it could emerge as an economic tiger in Asia.
Melody Meyer, president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company Ltd, said the supply of power is a key ingredient to attract foreign direct investment.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Muhammad Enamul Huq, Energy Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin and Chevron Bangladesh President Geoff Strong spoke, among others.
US Secretary of State Hillary is due in Dhaka on May 5 to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries.
During her talks with the leaders of the government, the issue of duty and quota free access could top the agenda as the matter has been dragging on for years now.