Bangladesh: Coun­try de­nied GSP for fourth con­sec­u­tive time

Stitch World - - NEWS TRACK -

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

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