Yunus, Abed talk garment exports with Hillary, seek free access to US

Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and BRAC Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed yesterday urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to allow Bangladeshi garments duty-free access to the US market to help create local jobs, especially for women.
They met Hillary at a breakfast meeting at the US ambassador’s residence in Gulshan, Dhaka.
If Bangladesh’s garment exports get duty-free access to the US, it would give an impetus to women empowerment in Bangladesh, Yunus said.
“We already have major changes in women’s empowerment. If we get the access, several millions of women will get jobs. You (the US) will have to consider it from this aspect,” Yunus told reporters after the meeting.
The demand for such access to the US market, the single largest export destination of Bangladeshi products, is a much-hyped issue as Bangladesh, despite being a least developed country, pays high tariff for the access.
Bangladesh, the largest maker of apparel after China and a key garments supplier to Wal-Mart Stores and Tommy Hilfiger, pays an average 15.3 percent duty on its US exports.
Ninety-seven percent Bangladeshi goods have duty-free access to the US market, but the list does not include garments, the main export item of the country, which employs three million people, majority of them women.
Bangladesh pays the US more than $600 million in duty per year, which is almost equivalent to the annual aid the country gets from the US.
Last year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $4.59 billion to the US and imported goods worth $1.09 billion, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh.
Dr Yunus, the Grameen Bank founder, said the special trade treatment is not a business topic only.
“We are talking about business, but the most important thing is that it (duty-free access) will create more employment opportunities,” he said.
“This should be considered from the point that it will make women more independent,” he added.
“She has paid special attention to our demand for the duty-free access of Bangladeshi products. She has not given any immediate assurance, but said that she would consider it,” Yunus said, referring to Hillary.
From the impression of the US secretary of state, it appears that Bangladesh has a possibility of getting the duty-free access, said Sir Abed.
The comments from Prof Yunus and Sir Abed came just a week after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the US to allow such access to boost trade relations between the two countries.
“Bangladeshi products get a duty- and quota-free access to the European Union and many other developed countries. India has also provided us with the privilege for our garments products. So why not the US?” the prime minister questioned, during a meeting in Habiganj on April 30.
“The US is a big country and a big market…It is our people’s demand for a duty-free access to the US,” said Hasina.
The US offers the benefit to all the least developed countries except Bangladesh, she pointed out. “I don’t know why.”
The Grameen Bank founder said the issue of microcredit, its future and what other countries are doing about the financial tool were also discussed at the meeting.
“She wanted to know about the condition of Grameen Bank. I have explained the issue to her,” Yunus said without elaborating.
Prof Yunus also briefed Hillary on the advancements that took place among the poor women and their children in Bangladesh since her last visit to the country.
He also briefed her on the progress made by Grameen Bank and the problems the bank is facing currently.
Dr Yunus also updated Hillary on the 54 independent companies he set up, which the government plans to bring under the control of Grameen Bank.
Yunus said he mentioned the electricity crisis as a major problem for the country and they have sought support from the US in establishing a regional energy network with Nepal and Myanmar.
Bangladesh is desperately trying to meet its growing energy demand and is seeking to forge partnerships with neighbouring countries to import electricity.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Islami Bank wins ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2021

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited IBBL won the ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2021 for “Private Commercial Bank (Islamic Operation)”. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi handed over the award to Muhammad Qaisar Ali, additional managing director of the bank Thursday (1 December) at a ceremony held at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka. JQM Habibullah, additional managing ... Read more

Brac Bank holds fire safety awareness sessions during Fire Service Week

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com To observe Fire Service Week, Brac Bank held a fire safety awareness event for its people in conjunction with the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department. The bank arranged a fire safety drill at its head office in Dhaka on 17 November, said a press release. The department observes Fire Service ... Read more

Premier Cement Mills PLC obtains ICMAB ‘Gold Award’ for cement manufacturing

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Once again, Premier Cement Mills PLC has taken home the Gold in the Cement Manufacturing category at the ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2021. Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director of Premier Cement Mills PLC, received the award from Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at a city hotel on 1 December.  Among others Federation ... Read more

IPDC Finance took home “gold” for ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2021

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com IPDC Finance was honored with the Gold Award in the NBFI category at the ICMAB Best Corporate Award 2021. The awards event took place on Thursday, December 1 at the Intercontinental Dhaka, said a press release issued in this regard. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi handed over the awards to the recipients as ... Read more

Agora, BD Recycle Technologies to work on solid-waste management 

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Agora Limited has recently joined hands with BD Recycle Technologies Limited (BRTL) to work together with the goal of ensuring sustainable solid-waste management. A memorandum of understanding has been signed in this regard, where these two institutions will work towards environmental protection through modernisation of waste management, reads a press release. ... Read more

ICMAB Best Corporate Award goes to 65 firms

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com A total of 65 businesses were awarded the “Best Corporate Award 2021” by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) for their efforts in establishing corporate governance. After examining each company’s annual report, the ICMAB presented them with honors Thursday night at a local hotel during its annual ... Read more

Meghna Bank to avail mobile financial solution platform

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Meghna Bank recently signed a tripartite agreement with ModeFinServer Private and Genex Infosys at the bank’s head office in Gulshan, Dhaka to avail a mobile financial solution platform from the former and provide logistics and localisation support from the latter.  Sohail RK Hussain, managing director of Meghna Bank, Amarnath Chowdhury, managing ... Read more

Citibank NA appoints New Country Officer in Bangladesh

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Citibank NA Bangladesh recently appointed a new country officer.  The appointee, Md Moinul Huq, joined Citibank NA in 2002 and previously worked for Al Baraka Bank and Dhaka Bank, said a press release. As country officer, Huq will lead the Citi franchise in Bangladesh and will be responsible for Citi’s business ... Read more

Shwapno establishes new outlet at Aftabnagar Siraj Convention Centre

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com A new outlet of the retail shop Shwapno was inaugurated at the Siraj Convention Centre in Aftabnagar, Dhaka. An event was held to mark the occasion on Tuesday noon, reads a press release issued in this regard. The programme was attended by landowner Md Siraj, Shwapno Head of Retail Administration Saiful ... Read more

Rezina Parveen becomes DMD of Agrani Bank

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Rezina Parveen was recently appointed as the Deputy Managing Director of Agrani Bank Limited. She formerly held the position of General Manager at Janata Bank, where she gained both respect and success, before moving on to Agrani Bank. She served as acting CEO of Janata Capital and Investment Limited, which is ... Read more

Janata Bank assists Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation financially

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Janata Bank Limited recently gave money to the Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation to help them set up an independent welfare fund to pay for injured players’ medical bills. A press release says that Abdus Salam Azad, MD and CEO of Janata Bank and Vice-President of Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation, gave the donation check ... Read more

Two-day ‘Bima Mela’ was organized at Barishal

Rupali Insurance demonstrated the most innovative customer service during the event. Business Desk : dhakamirror.com On the 24th and 25th of November, 81 property, casualty, and life insurance companies displayed their products during the two-day “Bima Mela 2022” in Barishal. Visitors were happy to take part in a variety of games and activities organized by ... Read more

MTB Foundation and Buet provide student scholarships

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) and the Mutual Trust Bank (MTB) Foundation recently held a “Saifuddin Ahmed Chowdhury Memorial Scholarship” program at the Buet academic council bhaban in Dhaka. The programme aims to provide funds on a monthly basis to 33 students of 12 departments, said a press ... Read more

Jamuna Bank Foundation holds free plastic surgery camp

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com A free plastic surgery camp for cleft lip, palate, and burn patients was held at Munshiganj General Hospital by Jamuna Bank Foundation. Specialized doctors from the Netherlands provided treatment during the camp, reads a press release. Local government Tazul Islam attended the camp as the chief guest. Chairman of Jamuna Bank ... Read more

Disney Star and Beximco Digital Distribution reach broadcast agreement in Bangladesh

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Beximco Digital Distribution Limited (BDDL), a concern of Beximco Group has signed a deal with Disney Star to distribute eight of their popular entertainment television channels across Bangladesh via paid television service through cable, IPTV, and OTT. The collaboration will see BDDL distribute Disney Star’s channels in the original languages of ... Read more

6 Organizations and 5 Individuals get Best CSR Awards 2022

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Six organizations and five individuals were recognized with “A Better Tomorrow CSR Awards 2022” for making positive contributions to society through various projects. The awards were presented by Planning Minister Abdul Mannan at a ceremony held at Le Meridian Dhaka in the capital, according to a press release. The Daily Star ... Read more

Nagad gets two MasterCard Excellence Awards 2022

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com The Postal Department’s Nagad mobile financial service won the “Mastercard Excellence Award 2022” for its digital innovation in Bangladesh’s financial industry. According to a press release, Nagad won its second online award for its outstanding merchant business contributions. Mastercard recently held the “Mastercard Excellence Award 2022” ceremony in Dhaka’s five-star hotel ... Read more

Rupali Bank made Tahmina Akhter DMD

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Rupali Bank Limited has appointed Tahmina Akhter to the position of Deputy Managing Director (DMD). The Financial Institutions division of the Ministry of Finance issued a circular in this regard recently, reads a press release.  Before joining as DMD, she successfully served as general manager in the same bank. Tahmina Akhter ... Read more

Asian Banker named Islami Bank as ‘Strongest Bank’

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Singapore-based banking and financial intelligence platform The Asian Banker has named Islami Bank Bangladesh the “Strongest Bank in Bangladesh” and the “Strongest Islamic bank in Bangladesh” for 2022. Foo Boon Ping, the platform’s managing editor, announced this on Thursday through a virtual platform which was joined by Mohammed Monirul Moula, managing ... Read more

1000th sub-branch of IFIC Bank opens in Meherpur

In an effort to create the most extensive and technologically advanced banking network in the country, IFIC Bank has inaugurated its 1000th sub-branch in Mujibnagar, Meherpur. The bank’s chairman and Adviser on Private Industry and Investment to the Prime Minister Salman F Rahman and State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain was present as the ... Read more