No bar to regaining GSP as all conditions fulfilled: Tofail

New Age Online

The minister for commerce, Tofail Ahmed, on Thursday said there is no barrier to retaining the Generalized System of Preferences facilities in the United States market as Bangladesh has fulfilled all the 16 conditions tagged with the GSP revival process.
‘We’ve met all the 16 conditions. Now, there’s no bar to getting back GSP,’ he told reporters at the secretariat after a meeting with a delegation of alliance for Bangladesh worker safety, reports United News of Bangladesh.
Alliance executive director and former US Ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty led the delegation, reports United News of Bangladesh.
A US delegation, led by Assistant United States Trade Representative Michael J Delaney, is scheduled to arrive here on September 13 for a two-day visit to asses the progress made in the RMG sector in line
with the US Action Plan announced after the Tazreen and Rana Plaza disasters.
‘They’ll visit our factories. I hope they’ll be satisfied with the tremendous progress we have made,’ said the commerce minister.
He said the USTR team will hold meetings with three secretaries – commerce, foreign and labour – and discuss all the related issues.
‘It’s my belief that the suspension of GSP on Bangladesh will be withdrawn.’, he said.
The United States, however, does not provide GSP facilities for RMG products from any country. Bangladesh used to get this special duty benefit for other products except RMG.
The US President’s June 2013 decision to suspend Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the GSP programme resulted in US imports of GSP-eligible products from Bangladesh becoming ineligible for
duty-free treatment.
In 2012, the total value of US imports from Bangladesh under GSP was $34.7 million; the top GSP imports from Bangladesh included tobacco, sports equipment, porcelain china, and plastic products.
The Commerce Minister said the overall export to US saw a rise even after the suspension of GSP benefit in the US market.
Bangladesh has long been pressing the US authorities to restore the preferential trade benefit under the GSP.
Garment exports grew 4.08 percent to $25.5 billion in fiscal 2014-15,
which is 42 times the amount in 1984, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Earlier, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu said gazette on the rules to implement the new labour law, one of major conditions imposed by the US, will be published within 10 days.
The labour law enacted in 2006 was amended in 2013. But still there is no rule to implement the new law.

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