Dhaka seeks duty-free RMG access to USA for 2-year

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Dhaka, May 13: Dhaka has urged Washington DC to grant duty-free access of all Bangladesh’s ready-made garments (RMG) to the United States market for next two years helping the country limit its economic effect caused by the global lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The urge was made by foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen while he was talking with the US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger who has also been serving as assistant of US President Donald Trump over the telephone on Tuesday evening, a foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday.

During the conversation, Dr Momen sought US government’s cooperation so that the US buyers don’t cancel their import orders from the RMG units here in this current unprecedented global crisis as the garment products hold the lion’s share of Bangladesh’s export basket since long.

Mentioning that the country’s RMG sector is now producing COVID-19 protection equipments like PPEs and masks, he said the US may import more such kinds of medical supply from Bangladesh in combating the deadly virus in its country.

The foreign minister also urged the US government to allocate special fund for Dhaka to ensure food security in Bangladesh during and past epidemic period.

The Trump’s assistant highly lauded Bangladesh role in containing the deadly coronavirus here and assured that the US assistance to Bangladesh in this regard would be continued.

Pottinger expressed the US government’s gratitude to Bangladesh for giving shelter the Rohingyas stranded in the sea.

In reply, Momen said sheltering Rohingyas would not be the lone responsibility of Bangladesh, other countries should share it as well.

He urged other countries to take 1.1 million Rohingyas, who came here following a military crackdown in Myanmar and have been living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh in nearly three years, to their respective countries and give them shelter there.

Momen also called upon all friendly countries including the USA to play firmer role in ensuring safe and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

Replying to a question regarding Bangladesh’s digital security act, the foreign minister said this law is being applied against only those who are involved in misleading mass people with fake information as well as in conducting provocative and hate campaign abusing religious sentiment.

He also pointed out that Bangladesh media do enjoy more freedom to express free opinion compare to any other country.

Noting that investment friendly congenial atmosphere is prevailing in Bangladesh, the foreign minister urged the USA to increase its investment in various sector here taking advantage of the facilities at the country’s 100 economic zones and planned 28 IT parks.

On behalf of Trump, Pottinger, one of the Whitehouse spokesperson, also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina regarding a letter centering birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.