Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) - Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has planned to establish a ‘RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) to ensure the full and independent national compliance monitoring system in Bangladesh.
The RSC will be governed by BGMEA, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), brands, and workers’ representatives, said the apex body of the country’s apparel industry on Sunday.
The RSC will take over the structure, operation and resources of ACCORD as it phases out from Bangladesh in the 281 days of signing of the current memorandum of understanding (MoU).
The Supreme Court has allowed ACCORD on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh an extension of 281 days to operate in transition in the country, based on the MoU signed between the BGMEA and ACCORD on Sunday.
ACCORD helps readymade garment factories in Bangladesh become safe – and stay safe – for millions of workers.
The RSC is envisaged to take over all the safety-related matters in the RMG industry within the legal framework of the government of Bangladesh, according to the BGMEA.
During the transition period, the BGMEA will immediately establish an operating unit within the ACCORD’s Dhaka office named ‘BGMEA Unit’ to ensure a smoother transition.
A technical sub-committee with senior experts, especially from Buet among others, will be formed to complement the transition process.
The BGMEA Unit will regularly update RCC on the progress made.
In a bid to work collaboratively, it was agreed that there will be no termination or escalation of any factory from ACCORD’s end without the agreement of the BGMEA Unit, according to the MoU.
ACCORD agreed that there will be no group termination in the case of failure of one factory.
There will be no duplication of inspection between the safety initiatives (RCC, ACCORD and Nirapon).
This means that factories once inspected by ACCORD, Nirapon, RCC or any other inspecting authorities will be considered as common standards.
In the case of any dispute between BGMEA unit and ACCORD, the matter will be referred to RCC for the final settlement.
The parties also agreed to work on developing modalities for listing new factories within the safety regimes.
The MoU marks a departure from the past unilateral framework and establishes the route to self-monitoring, according to the BGMEA.
As a gesture of goodwill of the BGMEA Board and ACCORD, this MoU represents the true spirit of collaboration in the transition.
Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) – Newly elected President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim on Sunday vowed to work together with the business community for greater good.
While taking over the charge officially, the apex trade body chief said the FBCCI would continue to play its due role taking part in the country’s economic development process.
Fahim noted the country’s growing economy and said the FBCCI would continue its activities in line with Bangladesh’s journey towards further development.
The Board of Directors of the country’s apex trade body, elected for 2019-2021 tenure, took over the charge at a function held at the FBCCI Bhaban.
Senior vice president Md Muntakim Ashraf, six vice presidents and directors, elected for the next two years, were present.
Former FBCCI President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin spoke briefly before handing over charge to the new FBCCI leadership.
He hoped that the newly elected Board of Directors would turn out to be the most successful one through joint efforts demonstrating its competence, capability and determination.
Earlier on April 29, Md Ali Ashraf, chairman of the election board of the FBCCI, announced the results of the FBCCI election.
Former FBCCI leaders were also present.
Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) - Citi has been named as the best bank in Asia by Corporate Treasurer Magazine, Asia’s leading trade magazine covering corporate treasury and finance.
The best bank award was decided by a poll of over 1,200 corporate treasurers and CFOs across the Asia Pacific region arranged by the magazine and East and Partners, global specialist business banking market research and analysis firm, said a media release on Sunday.
The poll asked companies for their primary bank and their satisfaction with it across transaction services, including cash, trade and FX services.
The winner was then determined by the combined scores of market share and this satisfaction rating.
“We were delighted with the level of engagement in this ground breaking original research by Corporate Treasurer and East. For Citi, the award was a significant milestone marking its journey in Asia,” said the editorial announcing the award.
“The award is important recognition from clients that Citi is delivering on our commitment to be their most trusted banking partner. We would like to thank all our clients for this trust they place in us. Underpinning this win is a team across the region and I would like to congratulate them,” said Jan Metzger, Asia Pacific Head of Banking, Capital Markets Advisory.
In the first quarter of 2019, Citi Asia Pacific reported a 60 percent rise in net income quarter on quarter across its Institutional Clients Group in Asia, which bank’s Asia’s leading corporates and global MNCs doing business in the region.
“The year is already off to a strong start. We’re seeing an increased demand for banking services as more of our global clients invest in opportunities across the region and we continue to support Asia’s local champions with their local, regional and global aspirations. Our regional network has never been stronger and this strength is helping us broaden and deepen banking relationships,” added Metzger.
Washington, May 18 (AP/UNB) — Bogged down in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to ease tensions with America's allies — lifting import taxes on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and delaying auto tariffs that would have hurt Japan and Europe.
By removing the metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Trump cleared a key roadblock to a North American trade pact his team negotiated last year. As part of Friday's arrangement, the Canadians and Mexicans agreed to scrap retaliatory tariffs they had imposed on U.S. goods.
"I'm pleased to announce that we've just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico, and we'll be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs, or major tariffs," Trump said in a speech to the National Association of Realtors.
In a joint statement, the U.S. and Canada said they would work to prevent cheap imports of steel and aluminum from entering North America. The provision appeared to target China, which has long been accused of flooding world markets with subsidized metal, driving down world prices and hurting U.S. producers. The countries could also reimpose the tariffs if they faced a "surge" in steel or aluminum imports.
In Washington, some were urging Trump to take advantage of the truce with U.S. allies to get even tougher with China.
"China is our adversary," said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. "Canada and Mexico are our friends. The president is right to increase pressure on China for their espionage, their theft of intellectual property, and their hostility toward the rule of law. The president is also right to be deescalating tension with our North American allies."
Earlier Friday, the White House said Trump is delaying for six months any decision to slap tariffs on foreign cars, a move that would have hit Japan and the Europe especially hard.
Trump still is hoping to use the threat of auto tariffs to pressure Japan and the European Union into making concessions in ongoing trade talks. "If agreements are not reached within 180 days, the president will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
In imposing the metals tariffs and threatening the ones on autos, the president was relying on a rarely used weapon in the U.S. trade war arsenal — Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — which lets the president impose tariffs on imports if the Commerce Department deems them a threat to national security.
But the steel and aluminum tariffs were also designed to coerce Canada and Mexico into agreeing to a rewrite of North American free trade pact. In fact, the Canadians and Mexicans did go along last year with a revamped regional trade deal that was to Trump's liking. But the administration had refused to lift the taxes on their metals coming into the United States until Friday.
The new trade deal — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — needs approval from legislatures in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Several key U.S. lawmakers were threatening to reject the pact unless the tariffs were removed. And Canada had suggested it wouldn't ratify any deal with tariffs still in place.
Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the lifting of the tariffs "will bring immediate relief to American farmers and manufacturers. Critically, this action delivers a welcome burst of momentum for the USMCA in Congress."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau credited his government for holding out to get the tariffs removed.
"We stayed strong," he said. "That's what workers asked for. These tariffs didn't make sense around national security. They were hurting Canadian consumers, Canadian workers and American consumers and American workers."
Trump had faced a Saturday deadline to decide what to do about the auto tariffs.
Taxing auto tariffs would mark a major escalation in Trump's aggressive trade policies and likely would meet resistance in Congress. The United States last year imported $192 billion worth of passenger vehicles and $159 billion in auto parts.
"I have serious questions about the legitimacy of using national security as a basis to impose tariffs on cars and car parts," Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Friday. He's working on legislation to scale back the president's authority to impose national security tariffs under Section 232.
In a statement, the White House said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has determined that imported vehicles and parts are a threat to national security. Trump deferred action on tariffs for 180 days to give negotiators time to work out deals but threatened them if talks break down.
In justifying tariffs for national security reasons, Commerce found that the U.S. industrial base depends on technology developed by American-owned auto companies to maintain U.S. military superiority. Because of rising imports of autos and parts over the past 30 years, the market share of U.S.-owned automakers has fallen. That has caused a lag in research and development spending which is "weakening innovation and, accordingly, threatening to impair our national security," the statement said.
The market share of vehicles produced and sold in the U.S. by American-owned automakers, the statement said, has declined from 67% in 1985 to 22% in 2017.
But the statistics don't match market share figures from the industry. A message was left Friday seeking an explanation of how Commerce calculated the 22%.
In 2017, General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Tesla combined had a 44.5% share of U.S. auto sales, according to Autodata Corp. Those figures include vehicles produced in other countries.
It's possible that the Commerce Department didn't include Fiat Chrysler, which is now legally headquartered in The Netherlands but has a huge research and development operation near Detroit. It had 12% of U.S. auto sales in 2017.
The Commerce figures also do not account for research by foreign automakers. Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Subaru, Honda and others have significant research centers in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Trump is locked in a high stakes rumble with China. The U.S. accuses Beijing of stealing trade secrets and forcing American companies to hand over technology in a head-long push to challenge American technological dominance. The two countries have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in each other's products. Talks broke off last week with no resolution.
The hostilities between the world's two biggest economies have weighed heavily the past couple of weeks on the U.S. stock market, threatening a long rally that Trump touted as a vindication of his economic policies. Opening a new front in the trade wars against EU and Japan likely would have worried investors even more.
Dhaka, May 16 (UNB)- Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, is keen to invest in Bangladesh for flourishing industrialization here.
A three-member delegation of the company, part of the larger Mitsubishi Group, headed by Ryujiro Kobashi, Vice President and Division General Manager for South Asia, Middle East and Africa and Europe, arrived in Bangladesh on May 14 on invitation of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA). They will leave the country on May 17, a press release said on Thursday.
Other members are--- Junichi Sabanai, General Manager of Production Engineering Division and Yasuhiko Ueda, Assistant to General Manager.
Today, they met with Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury to discuss investment angles for the development of an automotive industry in Bangladesh.
“Mitsubishi Motors wants to support the motorization and industrialization of Bangladesh. I am visiting Bangladesh this time to discuss that with the honorable members of the Bangladesh government,” said Mr. Kobashi.
BIDA Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said that the market size for automobiles in Bangladesh is going to catch up to its rapid economic growth and higher income of its people.
He added to our overall stability, high profitability and flexible labor market, Bangladesh is offering the best incentives. Every year 2.3 million young Bangladeshis enter the job market. We want them to be introduced to high-value and technology-based manufacturing.
Aminul thanked the Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi for his role in turning Japanese investment, in the form of foreign direct investment as opposed to official development assistance, in Bangladesh a continuing reality.
On Wednesday, the Mitsubishi delegation accompanied by BIDA officials, visited the Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chattogram and also stopped by at the premises of Pragoti Industries in Sitakunda, where Mitsubishi’s ‘Pajero Sport’ has been assembled for a number of years now.