Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– A US congress lobby has become active to stop duty-free import of made-in Bangladesh sleeping bags threatening loss of hundreds of jobs.
The move, said an Export Promotion Bureau official, created fresh worries for Bangladesh, according to reports.
President Barack Obama, on July 12 this year, turned down a plea for imposing duty on the sleeping bags imported from Bangladesh and other developing countries.
Recently, a US manufacturers’ lobby convinced a number of Congressmen for tabling a bill, for denying the facility to Bangladesh.
Unlike apparel exports from Bangladesh, categorized under textile products, for which high duty is charged by the US, sleeping bags and golf shafts from developing countries enjoy duty free access.
A senior official of the state-run EPB told New Age, a local newspaper, that Congressman Robert Aderholt tabled the bill in the house on July 30, for categorizing sleeping bags as a textile product, which does not enjoy duty-free market access in the USA.
At least four other US Congressmen, he said, agreed to cosponsor the bill.
The US started increasing the import of sleeping bags from Bangladesh, only recently, due to lower prices.
China has been, traditionally, the largest exporter of sleeping bags to the US.
At least two sleeping bag factories in Bangladesh export sleeping bags to US retailers, including Wal-Mart.
If the US withdraws the duty free access, Bangladesh could lose the market, he said. Also at stake is the employment of several hundred jobs, he said.
The US industry lobby is trying to withdraw Bangladesh’s duty free access to protect the lone American sleeping bag manufacturer, Alabama-based Exxel Outdoors Incorporation, which meets 30 percent of the country’s demand for sleeping bags, the newspaper added.
BBN/SSR/SI/AD-07Aug10-12:10 am (BST)