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New Commerce Minister: Top priority is to retain GSP

A day after taking oath as commerce minister of the new cabinet, veteran Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed yesterday said his utmost priority would be to retain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the Bangladeshi products in the US market.

He came up with the priority issue while talking to journalists at his secretariat office in Dhaka. He said the United States is the single largest importer of the Bangladeshi products.

“Apart from that, we will take other initiatives for exploring new markets across the globe to get duty-free excess of our goods. We would try to enhance the internal as well as foreign trade to boost the country’s total trade volume,’’ said the minister.

The number of foreign embassies and foreign missions will be increased, if necessary, for enhancing our trade, he added.

Regarding the price hike of essential commodities, he said a coordination committee will be formed comprising of members from the trade bodies while capacity of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will be enhanced to tackle any trade-related problem.

“Prices of the essential commodities will be kept stable through market intervention by TCB,??? he added.

Businessmen will do business while the government will just create an atmosphere congenial to have good relations between the local traders and the businessmen, which would be the strategy in the coming days, said Tofail.

“My main job will be to make Bangladesh a middle income country within 2021 through boosting trade and business,??? he said.

The minister would visit India on January 16-17 to attend a business conference.

On June 27 last year, the US government suspended the GSP because of concerns over labour rights and workers’ safety that intensified after hundreds of workers died in the worst global garment industry accident. While, on December4,  the European Union (EU) warned Bangladesh of restoring political stability and protecting human rights as well as ending violation of democratic practices by the political parties.

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Source: Dhaka Tribune

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