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Dhaka Tribune

Keep up progress to regain GSP

Update : 03 Apr 2014, 06:32 PM

We welcome the statements by the commerce minister and US Ambassador on Monday, indicating that satisfactory progress is being made towards complying with the conditions required to regain GSP (generalised system of preferences) status for Bangladesh’s exports to the US market.

The government reported in February that 13 out of the 16 conditions set had already been met, and that it expected to be able to move ahead with implementing the remaining items. It is vital that everything possible be done to move these forward ahead of the progress report due to be submitted to US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 15.

Regaining GSP would have huge symbolic value and provide a long-term boost to the economy.

On a recent visit, the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee made clear that addressing concerns about union organisers and members being harassed or intimidated was important to allow suspension of the GSP facility to be lifted. The commerce minister’s announcement of the formation of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Council for the RMG sector is therefore very welcome, for providing a new and more accessible approach to resolving complaints about labour abuse and harassment.

It is also encouraging that the government will be appointing 222 industrial inspectors this month to help comply with GSP requirements.

Improving monitoring and public inspection standards is one of the key goals sought by the international brands and consumers supporting the Accord and Alliance multi-stakeholder safety initiatives. The government should build on this progress and make it a high priority to keep making progress. 

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