‘Do more for GSP restoration’: Mozena


bdnews24.com :
Bangladesh needs to do more to regain the facilities under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), US Ambassador Dan Mozena has said.
There are some more challenges for Bangladesh; it needs to take a few more steps to get back GSP facilities in the US. One of them is to implement labour laws in the Export Processing Zones, Mozena told reporters after a meeting he held with three secretaries and four foreign diplomats at the Secretariat on Wednesday.
Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar were present at the meeting.
Earlier, the five envoys made a courtesy call on Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
In June last year, the US had suspended preferential trade benefits for Bangladesh products for its reported failure to improve work place conditions for labourers and ensuring rights to form trade unions in EPZs.
Later the Obama administration also unveiled a plan detailing some conditions including improving work place environment for workers to get back the GSP facilities.
Much in the conditions have already been implemented and the rest will be fulfilled before schedule, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed had said.
But at a Senate hearing on Feb 11, Eric Biel, acting deputy undersecretary for international affairs at the US labour department, had said Bangladesh needed to work more for the revival of GSP status.
Another hearing is scheduled in May on the restoration of the GSP facilities.
Although the suspension of GSP had little impact on the country’s export because it did not affect the ready-made garment sector, two devastating accidents had drawn international scrutiny.
The collapse of Rana Plaza garment factory building complex last April killed more than 1,100 people. Less than a year before that, a huge fire at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd factory claimed the lives of 112 workers in 2012.
Mozena will leave Dhaka for Washington on Wednesday night for nearly a month. There he will attend the State Department’s Global Chiefs of Mission Conference scheduled this month.
He will also meet officials, Congressmen, members of civil society and business leaders.