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TICFA may turn meaningless if US does not give duty free market access

Business Report

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the Trade and Investment Cooperation Facilitation Agreement (TICFA) with the US will become meaningless if Bangladesh’s exports to the USA do not get duty-free access.
Tofail made the remark in presence of the US ambassador Den W Mozena at the inaugural function of US Trade Show at a local hotel in the city. He said the US government always made conditions and Bangladesh fulfils those conditions. But the desired duty free market access is not achieved.
“I want the US to give us duty-free access to Bangladesh to make TICFA bearing fruits. Otherwise it may turn out to be meaningless,” he said. The commerce Minister attended the opening of 23rd US Trade Show in Dhaka as the chief guest. .
The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) and the US embassy in Dhaka jointly organized the three-day exhibition at the capital’s Sonargaon on Saturday last.
AmCham president Aftabul Islam and leaders of other chamber bodies, diplomats and senior US embassy officials were present on the occasion.
Tofail said most of the developed and developing countries allow duty-free access to all Bangladeshi products; the US, however, gives the privilege to only selected items from Bangladesh and on minor products, he said.
Garment products, which form the bulk of the country’s export basket, do not get duty-free access to the US; they are subjected to 15.61 percent duty. “The other competing countries of Bangladesh in this field pay much less duty for apparel exports,” the commerce minister said. With high hopes of securing duty-free access for its garment products, Bangladesh last year signed the TICFA creating a platform to resolve trade-related disputes between the two countries through discussions.
Tofail blamed the suspension of GSP for making cautious the behaviour of the US retailers after the Rana Plaza collapse and the slow down in placing export orders may bring setback to achieving the fscal 2014-15’s export target of $33.20 billion.
Mozena in return said the government must play a leading role in ensuring that Bangladeshi enterprises, especially in the apparel industry, meet international standards for workplace safety, respect for workers’ rights and protection of the environment.
He said Bangladesh is emerging as the biggest outsourcing market of global apparel buyers in few years time.

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Business Report

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the Trade and Investment Cooperation Facilitation Agreement (TICFA) with the US will become meaningless if Bangladesh’s exports to the USA do not get duty-free access.
Tofail made the remark in presence of the US ambassador Den W Mozena at the inaugural function of US Trade Show at a local hotel in the city. He said the US government always made conditions and Bangladesh fulfils those conditions. But the desired duty free market access is not achieved.
“I want the US to give us duty-free access to Bangladesh to make TICFA bearing fruits. Otherwise it may turn out to be meaningless,” he said. The commerce Minister attended the opening of 23rd US Trade Show in Dhaka as the chief guest. .
The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) and the US embassy in Dhaka jointly organized the three-day exhibition at the capital’s Sonargaon on Saturday last.
AmCham president Aftabul Islam and leaders of other chamber bodies, diplomats and senior US embassy officials were present on the occasion.
Tofail said most of the developed and developing countries allow duty-free access to all Bangladeshi products; the US, however, gives the privilege to only selected items from Bangladesh and on minor products, he said.
Garment products, which form the bulk of the country’s export basket, do not get duty-free access to the US; they are subjected to 15.61 percent duty. “The other competing countries of Bangladesh in this field pay much less duty for apparel exports,” the commerce minister said. With high hopes of securing duty-free access for its garment products, Bangladesh last year signed the TICFA creating a platform to resolve trade-related disputes between the two countries through discussions.
Tofail blamed the suspension of GSP for making cautious the behaviour of the US retailers after the Rana Plaza collapse and the slow down in placing export orders may bring setback to achieving the fscal 2014-15’s export target of $33.20 billion.
Mozena in return said the government must play a leading role in ensuring that Bangladeshi enterprises, especially in the apparel industry, meet international standards for workplace safety, respect for workers’ rights and protection of the environment.
He said Bangladesh is emerging as the biggest outsourcing market of global apparel buyers in few years time.


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Garment export to the US on decline

Shamsul Huda

Despite closely working with buyers’ watchdog bodies like the EU based ‘accord’ and the US buyers’ sponsored ‘alliance’ to implementing various safety regimes in the country’s garment factories, Bangladesh’s export of readymade garments to the US is on decline, said Rupa Group’s Managing director Mr Shahidul Islam.
“It is not clear why orders are on decline though we maintain all safety conditions at garment factories and producing products at competitive prices for international buyers,” he said pointing to slow down in exports orders from the US market.
He said many orders are going to Vietnam. Vietnam’s export growth posted 15 percent rise to the US market during the last financial quarter while Bangladesh’s export declined by nine per cent.
He said some export orders which were meant for Bangladesh went to Vietnam and still there are many buyers moving their orders away from Bangladesh.
Mr. Islam also a former Vice president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the government needs to identify the causes of losing export orders to Vietnam and should take immediate corrective steps.
   “Still we do have shorter lead time and low cost high quality apparels having  strong backward linkage industries to execute supply orders in time,” he said and wondered despite having such competitive edge why we are losing US market to Vietnam. It must be identified and the cause must be removed.
He said, “Bangladesh agree with their safety conditions and allowed workers rights at factories, we complied with their conditions one after another and yet we are not getting good results. Orders are going away from Bangladesh.”
The Rupa Group chief said buyers’ intensive inspection of the country’s garment factories found only less than two percent factories faulty while over 98 percent were certified as compliant factories.
He said, “Garment factory owners were hopeful of getting more orders in the emerging situation from the USA but as we see orders are on decline, mainly from the US. It is unexpected and contrary to the understanding with buyers,” he said.
The former BGMEA leader said the situation is however different in the EU market; exports are exponentially rising there. He said the relaxed rules of origin for the EU market initially appeared as a challenge to Bangladesh but our products’ quality and price competitiveness were able to increase exports unlike in the US market where it is growing at lower rate.
He suggested increased diplomatic effort to overcome the problems which are pushing our exports down to US market. The government must use the TICFA platform and other partnership forums to make the way easier to achieve a higher growth of exports, particularly RMG exports to the US market.
He said after the Rana Plaza disaster, Bangladesh garment sector came under tremendous pressure from buyers particularly for detecting faulty factory building, abolishing them or rebuilding them with standard safety measures.
Factory owners spontaneously responded and renovated the faulty buildings with the installation of fire safety and improving working environment at factories. There are some factories which are still temporarily shut for renovation as per the recommendations of Accord and Alliance watchdog bodies.
Mr Islam hoped the US buyers would overcome the slow down of placing export orders and remain stick to Bangladesh supply instead of going to other sources as Bangladesh is doing everything to address their concerns.

Comment

Shamsul Huda

Despite closely working with buyers’ watchdog bodies like the EU based ‘accord’ and the US buyers’ sponsored ‘alliance’ to implementing various safety regimes in the country’s garment factories, Bangladesh’s export of readymade garments to the US is on decline, said Rupa Group’s Managing director Mr Shahidul Islam.
“It is not clear why orders are on decline though we maintain all safety conditions at garment factories and producing products at competitive prices for international buyers,” he said pointing to slow down in exports orders from the US market.
He said many orders are going to Vietnam. Vietnam’s export growth posted 15 percent rise to the US market during the last financial quarter while Bangladesh’s export declined by nine per cent.
He said some export orders which were meant for Bangladesh went to Vietnam and still there are many buyers moving their orders away from Bangladesh.
Mr. Islam also a former Vice president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the government needs to identify the causes of losing export orders to Vietnam and should take immediate corrective steps.
   “Still we do have shorter lead time and low cost high quality apparels having  strong backward linkage industries to execute supply orders in time,” he said and wondered despite having such competitive edge why we are losing US market to Vietnam. It must be identified and the cause must be removed.
He said, “Bangladesh agree with their safety conditions and allowed workers rights at factories, we complied with their conditions one after another and yet we are not getting good results. Orders are going away from Bangladesh.”
The Rupa Group chief said buyers’ intensive inspection of the country’s garment factories found only less than two percent factories faulty while over 98 percent were certified as compliant factories.
He said, “Garment factory owners were hopeful of getting more orders in the emerging situation from the USA but as we see orders are on decline, mainly from the US. It is unexpected and contrary to the understanding with buyers,” he said.
The former BGMEA leader said the situation is however different in the EU market; exports are exponentially rising there. He said the relaxed rules of origin for the EU market initially appeared as a challenge to Bangladesh but our products’ quality and price competitiveness were able to increase exports unlike in the US market where it is growing at lower rate.
He suggested increased diplomatic effort to overcome the problems which are pushing our exports down to US market. The government must use the TICFA platform and other partnership forums to make the way easier to achieve a higher growth of exports, particularly RMG exports to the US market.
He said after the Rana Plaza disaster, Bangladesh garment sector came under tremendous pressure from buyers particularly for detecting faulty factory building, abolishing them or rebuilding them with standard safety measures.
Factory owners spontaneously responded and renovated the faulty buildings with the installation of fire safety and improving working environment at factories. There are some factories which are still temporarily shut for renovation as per the recommendations of Accord and Alliance watchdog bodies.
Mr Islam hoped the US buyers would overcome the slow down of placing export orders and remain stick to Bangladesh supply instead of going to other sources as Bangladesh is doing everything to address their concerns.


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Board meeting of Shahjalal Islami Bank held

Business Report

A view of the meeting of the board of Directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd recently held at its head office in the city.

A meeting of the board of directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited (SJIBL) was held at its boardroom recently presided over by its Vice-Chairman Alhaj Mohammad Younus.
The board approved a number of investment proposals and discussed various issues relating to policy matters and progress in ongoing investment projects.
Second Vice-Chairman of the board Alhaj Md. Abdul Barek, other directors and the Bank’s Managing Director Farman R Chowdhury, among others attended the meeting.

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Business Report

A view of the meeting of the board of Directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd recently held at its head office in the city.

A meeting of the board of directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited (SJIBL) was held at its boardroom recently presided over by its Vice-Chairman Alhaj Mohammad Younus.
The board approved a number of investment proposals and discussed various issues relating to policy matters and progress in ongoing investment projects.
Second Vice-Chairman of the board Alhaj Md. Abdul Barek, other directors and the Bank’s Managing Director Farman R Chowdhury, among others attended the meeting.


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MTB best SME Bank , Women Entrepreneurs Friendly Bank

Business Report

Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB) has been adjudged as first-ever best
“SME Bank of the Year” and “Women Entrepreneurs Friendly” Bank of the Year. The recognition was bestowed on the bank at the ‘SME Banking Award 2014’ ceremony jointly organized by Bangladesh Bank and the SME Foundation on the occasion of SME Financing Fair-2014 held at a city hotel on November 12.
Deputy Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of MTB Syed Rafiqul Haq, received the feat from Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit who was the chief guest on the occasion. 
Governor, Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman, Secretary, Ministry of Industries, Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, and Chairperson, SME Foundation, K. M. Habib Ullah were present.
With this achievement MTB becomes the first-ever best SME bank of the year for its contribution to developing the country’s small and medium enterprises.

Comment

Business Report

Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB) has been adjudged as first-ever best
“SME Bank of the Year” and “Women Entrepreneurs Friendly” Bank of the Year. The recognition was bestowed on the bank at the ‘SME Banking Award 2014’ ceremony jointly organized by Bangladesh Bank and the SME Foundation on the occasion of SME Financing Fair-2014 held at a city hotel on November 12.
Deputy Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of MTB Syed Rafiqul Haq, received the feat from Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit who was the chief guest on the occasion. 
Governor, Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman, Secretary, Ministry of Industries, Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, and Chairperson, SME Foundation, K. M. Habib Ullah were present.
With this achievement MTB becomes the first-ever best SME bank of the year for its contribution to developing the country’s small and medium enterprises.


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Islami Bank opens new branch at Boalkhali

Business Report

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) opened a new branch at Boalkhali in  Chittagong district on November 15. Deputy Managing Director of the Bank Nurul Islam Khalifa inaugurated it as the chief guest.
Executive Vice President of the Bank Mohammed Monirul Moula, and Vice Chairman of Boalkhali Upazila Shahida Akter Shefu were present as special guests on the occasion.
Executive Vice President and Head of Chittagong South Zone of the Bank Mohammed Amirul Islam presided over the function while it was addressed by Chairman of Sharwatoli Union parishad Noor Mohammad, Chairman of Kobadia Union Parisad  SM Jasim and former Chairman of Shakpura Union Parisad Badal Chandra Das.
Dr. Abu Naser, Shawkat Osman Chowdhury, Nandita bosu, Syed Nasir Uddin and Monsuf Ali and Manager of the new branch Muhammad Borhan Uddin also spoke on the occasion. 
A seminar on the Superiority and Success of Islamic Banking took place on the occasion at the new bank’s premises on November 14. It was presided over by the Bank’s Deputy managing Director Nurul Islam Khalifa.
Mohammed Amirul Islam presented the keynote paper. Member Secretary of Shariah Supervisory Committee of the Bank Prof. Dr. Abu Bakr Rafique, Professor of Arabic Department of Chittagong University Dr. ASM Abdul Mannan, Shahida Akter Shefu, Bodrus Meher and Alhaz Moulana Noor Mohammad took part in the discussion, said a press release.

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Business Report

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) opened a new branch at Boalkhali in  Chittagong district on November 15. Deputy Managing Director of the Bank Nurul Islam Khalifa inaugurated it as the chief guest.
Executive Vice President of the Bank Mohammed Monirul Moula, and Vice Chairman of Boalkhali Upazila Shahida Akter Shefu were present as special guests on the occasion.
Executive Vice President and Head of Chittagong South Zone of the Bank Mohammed Amirul Islam presided over the function while it was addressed by Chairman of Sharwatoli Union parishad Noor Mohammad, Chairman of Kobadia Union Parisad  SM Jasim and former Chairman of Shakpura Union Parisad Badal Chandra Das.
Dr. Abu Naser, Shawkat Osman Chowdhury, Nandita bosu, Syed Nasir Uddin and Monsuf Ali and Manager of the new branch Muhammad Borhan Uddin also spoke on the occasion. 
A seminar on the Superiority and Success of Islamic Banking took place on the occasion at the new bank’s premises on November 14. It was presided over by the Bank’s Deputy managing Director Nurul Islam Khalifa.
Mohammed Amirul Islam presented the keynote paper. Member Secretary of Shariah Supervisory Committee of the Bank Prof. Dr. Abu Bakr Rafique, Professor of Arabic Department of Chittagong University Dr. ASM Abdul Mannan, Shahida Akter Shefu, Bodrus Meher and Alhaz Moulana Noor Mohammad took part in the discussion, said a press release.


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Design Lab approved five Social Business projects

Business Report

The 37th Social Business Design Lab was held at Grameen Bank Bhaban on November 15 in the city in which 150 participants and observers from local and international organizations took part.
It approved five new social business projects to send the total number of approved projects to 418 out of a total presentation of 443 so far.
Director General of Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) Dr. Cecep Effendi and a team of American cultural ambassadors, representatives of GIZ from Germany, Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralyzed (CRP), Queen’s University, Canada, JICA of Japan also attended the event.
Participants from different universities at home and abroad including a group of 34 students from South-East University attended the event. There were also participants from Canada, Malaysia, India, Japan, Albania and Italy.
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus chaired the event to which participants also took part via live stream from 70 other countries.
The five business projects approved at the meeting were presented by Nobin Udyokta who are children of Grameen Bank borrowers. These include satranji mats production, trading in grocery items, selling cosmetic, refrigeration workshop and bird hatchery.
Another project for scientific aqua culture at Chittagong was highly appreciated and sent to Chittagong Social Business Centre for financing.
There were also question-answer sessions with Professor Yunus with online participants from different countries. Usually 70 countries take part in these Design Labs via the internet.
The 38th Social Business Design Lab will be held on 20 December following the  first Design Lab held on January 5 this year.

Comment

Business Report

The 37th Social Business Design Lab was held at Grameen Bank Bhaban on November 15 in the city in which 150 participants and observers from local and international organizations took part.
It approved five new social business projects to send the total number of approved projects to 418 out of a total presentation of 443 so far.
Director General of Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) Dr. Cecep Effendi and a team of American cultural ambassadors, representatives of GIZ from Germany, Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralyzed (CRP), Queen’s University, Canada, JICA of Japan also attended the event.
Participants from different universities at home and abroad including a group of 34 students from South-East University attended the event. There were also participants from Canada, Malaysia, India, Japan, Albania and Italy.
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus chaired the event to which participants also took part via live stream from 70 other countries.
The five business projects approved at the meeting were presented by Nobin Udyokta who are children of Grameen Bank borrowers. These include satranji mats production, trading in grocery items, selling cosmetic, refrigeration workshop and bird hatchery.
Another project for scientific aqua culture at Chittagong was highly appreciated and sent to Chittagong Social Business Centre for financing.
There were also question-answer sessions with Professor Yunus with online participants from different countries. Usually 70 countries take part in these Design Labs via the internet.
The 38th Social Business Design Lab will be held on 20 December following the  first Design Lab held on January 5 this year.


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Bajloor Rashid MBE clinches Who’s Who Award

Business Report

Leadig NRB Bajloor Rashid MBE this time clinches the globally prestigious ‘Who’s Who Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Britain’s socio-economic  advancement.
He was awarded with the recognition at a ceremony in London on November 15. Notable figures in the who’s who list include among others Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Venus Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Barack Obama, and Woody Allen.

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Business Report

Leadig NRB Bajloor Rashid MBE this time clinches the globally prestigious ‘Who’s Who Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Britain’s socio-economic  advancement.
He was awarded with the recognition at a ceremony in London on November 15. Notable figures in the who’s who list include among others Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Venus Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Barack Obama, and Woody Allen.


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EBL held kitchen handling programme for priority customers

Business Report

Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) undertook an exceptional initiative for its  priority customers to teach them kitchen handling and the art of cooking.
Noted chef and TV personality Nahid Osman conducted the programme at a city hotel recently in which large number of EBL priority customers took part.
Managing Director and CEO of EBL Ali Reza Iftekhar and Head of Consumer Banking Nazeem A Chowdhury among other senior bank officials were present on the occasion.

Comment

Business Report

Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) undertook an exceptional initiative for its  priority customers to teach them kitchen handling and the art of cooking.
Noted chef and TV personality Nahid Osman conducted the programme at a city hotel recently in which large number of EBL priority customers took part.
Managing Director and CEO of EBL Ali Reza Iftekhar and Head of Consumer Banking Nazeem A Chowdhury among other senior bank officials were present on the occasion.


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