Local readymade garment (RMG) exporters and experts are conducting research on ways to ensure duty-free access of some less important RMG products into the US markets.
They said under the new World Trade Organisation (WTO) deal, there is no chance of duty-free access of the major RMG products of Bangladesh into the US.
But, if the US buyers relax their import approach, there could be some chances of getting duty-free access of less important garment items.
Hoping against hope, the RMG exporters and experts are taking preparation to select the suitable digits under which Bangladeshi garment products can still get duty-free access into the US market to a limited extent.
"We are doing homework to select the digits that may be suitable for the Bangladeshi RMG products for entering into the US market under duty-free category. Both 8 and 10 digits may be suitable for Bangladesh, as the matter is still under consideration," said research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Mustafizur Rahman while talking to the FE.
"So far I know, the US buyers import RMG products under both 8 and 10 digit categories, but which is suitable for Bangladesh, it is yet to be known," Mustafiz said.
He said after concluding the research, Bangladesh would propose its suitable digit to the US authorities for getting duty-free access at the first follow-up meeting of WTO Hong Kong Ministerial, which is scheduled to be held in Geneva next year.
Former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Annisul Huq said the higher numerical digit like 10-digit might be suitable for Bangladesh as there is still a chance for duty-free access of some less important RMG products into the US market under this category.
But the entire matter should be reviewed thoroughly to fix the suitable digit for the interest of the country, he said.
On return from the recently-concluded Hong Kong Ministerial, Annisul at a press conference, said if the US keeps the import at 8-digit level then Bangladeshi garment products have no chance of duty exemption though other products enjoy the privilege, he added.
Huq said under the 10-digit level at least 16,000 products will come under import tariff line.
If this is the case, then some less important Bangladeshi garment items could enjoy duty-free access to the US markets, he said.