It also stressed the need for democratic development and freedom of expression to get the additional trade incentives from the new status.
Bernd Lange, chair of the International Trade Committee of European Parliament and leader of the delegation team, came up with the suggestion after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed in the city yesterday.
“We have heard about the ambitious plan of Bangladesh becoming a developing or a middle-income country. That means we have to look forward after its Least Developed Country (LDC) status is gone.”
The country has set the target to become a middle-income country by 2021. After the graduation, it will not enjoy the GSP facilities.
GSP Plus would be the trade agreement, which links to value-based trade relation, not only looking on customs and growth rate, but also on trade-related values, said Lange.
It is a clear message of the EU parliament that trade has not an end in itself, it has to be vehicle instrument to improve living condition in society on both sides of partnership for sure, said the EU leader.
This is also reflected in GSP Plus regulation that the EU expects from its partners that 27 international conventions on labour standards, workers rights, protection of environment, safety and security, democratic development and freedom of expression will be ratified and implemented, said Lange.
“We have to prepare for that as the process is going on and the time is limited and focus should be on requirement for GSP Plus,” he adds.
Currently, the EU offers duty- and quota-free market access to 48 Least Developed Countries under GSP. This is a unilateral measure to LDCs given to have their own development in the economic field. Compared to other 47 LDCs country, Bangladesh has used the opportunity at its best.
In his address, Tofail Ahmed said: “We are optimistic to get the GSP Plus status from the European Union (EU) after graduating from LDC by 2021.”
Challenges are ahead in availing GSP Plus status, but Bangladesh would be able to overcome challenges and meet all conditions, hoped the commerce minister.
The delegation expressed satisfaction over Bangladesh’s attainment of desired progress in labour safety and security, trade union, fire and structural safety issues, added Tofail.
“I am sure in the phase of dialogues to reach GSP Plus to fulfill the commitment of 27 conditions, the EU will give some support in capacity building so that at the end of the day result is expected to be good. I think it is a clear signal for fruitful partnership in future,” according to Lange.
“I am an optimistic man and that we are really able to go together to that path and improve conditions, which are needed to fulfill GSP Plus.”
Replying to a query about ethical buying, he said it is not in the hands of politics.
Since the EU consumers want fair conditions and a lot of investment has been made, there is also responsibility of European brands to recognize these efforts, added the delegate leader.