The United States (US) has expressed its concern over a dispute stemmed from the supply of a testing machine by the United Calibration, a California-based firm, to the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI).
"We ask you to review this matter to resolve this issue," Charge d' Affairs of the US Embassy in Dhaka Judith A Chammas said in a recent letter to the Industries Secretary.
The state-run quality control watchdog has been dragging its feet to make a payment worth Tk 7.5 million to the US manu facturing company since the installation of the equipment on the grounds of supplying used machine, official sources at the Ministry of Industries said Monday.
The BSTI has even threatened to launch a legal battle with the local representative of the California-based testing equipment maker rather than making timely payment, sources told the FE.
"A section of officials is reluctant to make the newly-installed testing machine operational as it may curb the future scope of resorting to graft in awarding quality certificates to the products of the local companies," sources alleged.
"This group does not want the BSTI to be well-equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to carry out quality control work," they added.
"We are told by United that upon delivery of the machine, M2K installed it for BSTI," Chammas said.
But the US senior diplomat regretted that the state-run watchdog refuses to pay M2K, claiming that the machine is a used one.
In support of the California-based company, Chammas said that the manufacturer has a 40-yearlong track record building "a reputation of honest dealing with their customers, who include many of the largest corporations, governments and educational institutions in the world", says the letter.
Both the M2K and the United Calibration have attested that the machine was 'new' when it was installed, and have provided information in support of their claim.
She, however, expressed the hope that the Ministry of Industries would do its best to provide what she called "fair treatment" to United Calibration.
Chammas's claim is supported by the United that has dispelled the allegations of supplying used equipment.
In an earlier letter to the M2K Technologies and Trading Company, a top executive of the United said that it has only recently begun to offer larger hydraulic universal testing machines to its customers.
The Industry Ministry sources said the Economic and Commercial Specialist of the US Embassy also aired the concern of the US government to both the relevant ministry and the BSTI and requested to resolve the issue.
The testing machine was shipped from California on April 7, 2005 and the local agent of the US Company installed it at the BSTI accordingly.