Bangladesh enjoys tax free export of all goods except that of readymade garments to the US under GSP. The garments are the country’s major export item.
Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) say they have written a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) for continuing the GSP.
USTR has said it is reconsidering the GSP facility because it is upset with the working environment of Bangladesh’s factories.
On Nov 24, over a hundred workers died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions. Since then US labour rights organisations have been demanding withdrawal of GSP facility to Bangladesh.
The FBCCI Secretary General Mir Shahabuddin Mohammad said the letter provided details about efforts to improving working conditions, adverse affects of cancellation of GSP and bilateral trade relations with US.
The letter says that doing away with the GSP will affect the economic growth in Bangladesh. “The goal to transform Bangladesh to a middle-income country by 2021 will not be possible. Many small and medium industries will be shut down – where mainly women are at work.”
Regarding improvement of working conditions, the letter said that Bangladesh had signed several conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and taken concrete measures like incorporating empowerment of labour unions and abolition to child labour in the Bangladesh Labour Act. ”The garments and prawn farming sectors have done away with child labour.”
The letter also mentioned that BGMEA, the association for readymade garment producers and exporters, had formed ‘task forces’ to ensure labour security.bdnews24.com