Rohingya, trade, rights issues to top the agenda
Issues related to Rohingyas, trade and investment, human rights as well as labour rights will be high on the agenda during the ninth meeting of the Bangladesh-European Union (EU) joint commission to be held in the capital tomorrow.
Dhaka is all but certain to urge the powerful bloc of 28 European nations to do more to solve the Rohingya crisis, which is badly affecting Bangladesh, said officials concerned, adding that the Bangladesh side is also expecting to emphasize on more trade, and investment from the European Union.
Dhaka will also put forward arguments in favor of receiving EBA (Everything But Arms) after graduating from the least developed country (LDC) status, they said.
The EU delegation will focus on improving labor rights situation in the factories and manufacturing plants across Bangladesh in an effort to continue to receive EBA privilege, said the officials.
The Europeans are likely to underscore on the governance, and human rights issues in Bangladesh; and matters related to undocumented Bangladeshi migrants, and workforces living in the EU countries, they said.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Monowar Ahmed will lead the Bangladesh side, while the EU side will be headed by Paola Pampaloni, deputy managing director for Asia and the Pacific of the EU External Action Service.
The joint commission broadly deals with three core issues: governance and human rights, trade and economic cooperation, and development cooperation.
Earlier, the sub-groups, with respect to the core areas, have already held meetings. Therefore, inputs of those meetings will also be examined by the joint commission for future measures, said a senior official.
Referring to one of the meetings, Monowar said the EU wants the government to provide a specific time-frame in dealing with concerns over labor rights, so that, Bangladesh can continue receiving the EBA privilege.
The European Union also expressed its view in favor of allowing trade unions in the factories at the export processing zones (EPZ).
The EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission was initiated in line with the commitments being undertaken by the EU, and Bangladesh under the 2001 Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development.
Previously, the Joint Commission meeting took place in a cordial, and constructive atmosphere, aiming at strengthening partnership in the areas of Governance, Human Rights and Migration; Trade and Economic Cooperation; and Development Cooperation.
The European Union, and Bangladesh met for their eighth Joint Commission on 12 July 2017 in Brussels.