LDCs urge US to pass TRADE Act 2005

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 25:

Readymade garment manufacturers of 14 least developed countries in Asia-Pacific region have agreed to urge US for early endorsement of a Trade Bill, seeking duty-free access for export from these poor countries. Representatives of leading business chambers from seven Asian-Pacific LDCs held a two-day long conference in the context of the US Trade Bill-2005 in Dhaka from June 21-22 and adopted a Dhaka Declaration. A precipitous loss of employment in apparel industries would be catastrophic for the region in economic, social and political terms, reads the declaration. “Large-scale loss of employment and widespread poverty continue to pose huge challenges to the region. Indeed, the situation is urgent and need urgent attention.” Alliance of 14 Asian-Pacific LDCs and Tsunami-devastated Sri Lanka has been seeking duty free access to the US markets, particularly RMG and apparel products following the end of global quota system from January 1, 2005. Four US senators have sponsored the Tariff Relief Assistance for Developing Econo-mies Act (TRADE Act 2005) in the US Congress representing the 14 Asia-Pacific LDCs and Sri Lanka. The bill has not only sought duty-free access for apparel products for these countries but also expanded preference for other items currently prohibited under the Generalised System of Preferences.