Bangladesh: Country denied GSP for fourth consecutive time
Bangladesh has once again been denied re-entry into the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade programme for the fourth consecutive year, despite the country’s significant efforts to improve the workplace safety and update the labour rights.
US President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly goes on to enforce the trade preference programme’s eligibility this week and is not going to reinstate the trade privilege for Bangladesh citing poor labour rights, according to a statement issued by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on December 22.
The GSP facility for Bangladesh was suspended in June 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse in April; the reasons mentioned being poor labour rights and unsafe working conditions in factories.
The then Barack Obama administration also gave 16 conditions to be fulfilled for regaining the trade privilege. Bangladesh fulfilled those conditions and submitted reports to the USTR twice.
The statement also includes that Bangladesh could not come out of the list of countries suspended from GSP benefits although some active decisions were taken in the trade preference enforcement programme in 2017.
However, several countries including Argentina, the Gambia and Swaziland are being reinstated to the GSP programme, effective from January 1, 2018.
The US is the single largest export destination for Bangladesh. As a least developed country, 97 per cent of goods originating from Bangladesh enjoy dutyfree benefits on export to US markets as per the decision of the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting of World Trade Organization ( WTO) in 2005.
However, the country’s main export item, garments, has not been included in this “97 per cent package” although garment items comprise 95 per cent of Bangladeshi exports to the US in a year.
US is the single largest export destination for Bangladesh