BD seeks GSP+ status as EU starts weighing labour law execution
Published : Tuesday, 19 July, 2022 at 12:00 AM Count : 599
Bangladesh wants an extension of the existing duty-free quota-free (DFQF) market access from the EU countries as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for 12 years after the country's graduation to the group of developing country.
Bangladesh is set to leave the LDC group by 2026 and could enjoy DFQF market access up to 2029. But it wants to enjoy the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), to pursue sustainable development which the EU announces recently for the developing countries.
According to official sources, the EU will implement the new GSP scheme -only for those countries which will comply with the EU's fresh nine-point action plan with a target to execute by 2026.
To oversee the situation in ground, a delegation of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade is now visiting Dhaka to see the progress in implementing the EU's nine-point action plan. It includes labour and human rights issues.
"We started negotiating with the EU to enjoy the facilities to secure the duty-benefit for 12 years after graduation beyond the three years of leeway," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammad Shahriar Alam said.
Eligible countries have to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour issues, environment and good governance issues. The State Minister said there will be a wide-ranging discussion with the EU delegation.
"The time-bound action plan stipulates child labour to be eliminated by 2025, workers be given easy access to trade unions and CBAs, workers in one factory be allowed to join trade unions of other factories.
It also mentions that cases in the labour court should be disposed of quickly. However, Bangladesh is working on the issue but yet to execute it, these are the prerequisite to receive the fund," a senior official said.
The EU seeks to address concerns in the area of freedom of expression, including in the digital space, and combating extrajudicial killings and torture and violence against women and marginalized groups, he added.
It is also of great urgency that the European Parliament has been discussing the commission's proposal for a new GSP Regulation, including the vulnerability criteria for accessing the GSP+ arrangement.
Bangladesh enacted a new law for the export processing zones in 2019. Currently a draft of a set of rules based on the law is at the law ministry for vetting. Bangladesh wants to formulate a new law once the new rules are in effect.