The EU delegation has also underscored the need for assessing the post-middle income country status when Bangladesh won’t be able to enjoy duty and quota-free market access to the EU countries.
Quoting the remarks made by EU delegation, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Md Siddiqur Rahman said: “They want to see the workplace safety and labour rights situation in other export-oriented sector like RMG to avert further industry accidents and thus save the life of the workers.”
He was addressing a joint press briefing after holding a meeting with the visiting EU parliamentary delegation headed by Bernd Lange at a city hotel yesterday.
The press briefing was attended, among others, by the EU head of delegation in Dhaka Pierre Mayaudon, BGMEA Senior Vice President Faruque Hassan and Vice Presidents-Mahmud Hasan Khan and Mohammed Nasir.
Addressing the press briefing, Bernard Lange said: “It is now clear that Bangladesh is on the right path to become middle-income country, coming out from the LDCs.”
“Once Bangladesh is graduated to a middle-income country, the trade relation between Bangladesh and the EU countries would be different,” reminded Lange.
In this regard, Lange further clarified: “If the LDC status of Bangladesh is disappeared, we have to discuss about other provisions like GSPP Plus.”
“The GSP plus links with some requirements of 27 international norms on labour rights and environmental issues,” he added.
We are here to oversee the overall situation especially the development related to workplace safety and labour rights issues
As the representative of 500 million people, the EU parliament is responsible for any trade agreement, he said further adding that trade relation between Bangladesh and EU is important because 60% of Bangladesh’s export are destined to the EU, said the EU delegation leader.
Terming the delegation a fact finding mission, Lange said: “We are here to oversee the overall situation especially the development related to workplace safety and labour rights issues in the garment sector after the Rana Plaza building collapse.”
The main task of the mission is looking into what is the development in terms of safety and security after the Rana Plaza disaster, he stated.
During the meeting, the apparel makers demanded a unified code of conduct to save time and money as saying, “It’s is nothing but wastage of time and money as different buyers have different codes in the implementation of social compliance audits.”
The meeting also discussed as to how the ongoing safety initiatives would be continued after 2018 when the tenure of Accord and Alliance is set to be expired.
The proposed remediation coordination cell would look after the post 2018 safety activities led by Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments where International Labour Organisation and other concerned stakeholders would be involved.