Bangladesh is not going to allow US cotton import without fumigation, considering its impact on agriculture and environment, says a document prepared for the Ticfa meeting.
The agenda set for the Ticfa meeting seen by The Business Standard suggests that Bangladesh would not accept if the US side raises the issue at the fifth meeting of Bangladesh-US Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement(Ticfa) beginning in Dhaka today.
Officials at the commerce ministry said Bangladesh has to do the fumigation as it has a legal obligation as is done in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In this meeting, Bangladesh has six agenda including graduation support as the new one.
Dhaka will ask for preferential market access, assistance for Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), US investment, technology transfer and trade-related capacity building, responsible business conduct and ethical buying practices.
Business leaders want the government to lobby hard for restoration of generalised system of preference in the USA market, duty-free market access for US cotton made products and ethical buying practices.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Tuesday said Bangladesh would again request the United States to revive the GSP.
Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, president of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries, told The Business Standard that Bangladesh should raise its voice for duty-free market access for apparel products that are made of US cotton.
Bangladesh is one of the biggest cotton importers of the US and majority of apparels made of US cotton are shipped to the US market, he added.
The USA suspended the GSP facility and made it conditional on improvements of workers' safety and rights in the readymade garment sector.
"Bangladesh has done a lot on these areas and amended the labour law," said Parvez.
Now the USA should restore the GSP facility to show its willingness and sincerity about its commitment, he added.
According to the US Embassy officials in Dhaka, American cotton exports to Bangladesh increased 308 percent in the last five years.
Export Promotion Bureau statistics show Bangladesh spent about $310 million on American cotton in 2018.
Former FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad said it is time to start negotiation for trade benefits after Bangladesh's graduation to a middle-income country status.
"We should press for responsible business and ethical buying practices," he added.
The USA may push, among other things, for copyright act and policy to protect intellectual property rights, updating regulatory guidelines for drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and food supplements.
Two-way trade between the United States and Bangladesh totalled $9 billion in 2019, more than double the amount of 10 years ago, with US exports to Bangladesh accounting for $2.3 billion.
Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Christopher Wilson and Bangladesh Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafor Uddin will lead their respective delegations in the one-day talks.