Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– A 15-member Bangladesh delegation leaves Dhaka on March 26 for Washington to participate in the hearing by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to be held on March 28. 
Officials of the commerce ministry familiar with the process said representatives from the public and private sectors and trade unions have been included in the delegation, which will present Bangladesh’s case to convince the US for continuation of GSP facilities. 
“We’ve started mega crash programs in the garments industry across the country as part of compliance. We hope that we will be able to overcome the situation centering probable cancellation of the GSP facility,” M Atiqul Islam, a leading apparel exporter to the US market said.
Mr. Islam, newly elected president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said Bangladesh will clarify its position as to why it deserves the fovourable tariff treatment.
Earlier in January, in response to the USTR, the Ministry of Commerce sent a position paper to them on the labour issues and possible negative implication should GSP facility withdrawn. 
The officials said Bangladesh will clarify its position on four major issues of labor standards, including the progress on the probe into the killing of labor leader Aminul Islam in the hearing. 
Unlike EU’s (European Union) GSP-spread that covers ‘everything but arms’, the US GSP is limited as now it covers a meagre 0.54 percent of Bangladesh’s exports to the USA, which in value terms is $26 million as against Bangladesh’s total export of $4.91 billion to the US in 2012.
A total of 97 percent Bangladeshi export goods enter the US market without any duty but the garments, the country’s main export items, have to pay 15.3 percent duty.
BBN/SSR/AD-23Mar13-8:17 am (BST)