GSP withdrawal must be avoided: EU

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The European Union (EU) Sunday said a decision to withdraw the EU GSP for Bangladesh must be avoided, as it would have far-reaching consequences for the country’s jobs and economy, reports UNB.

“The GSP provided by the EU benefits all products from Bangladesh under its Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. This means that a decision to withdraw the EU GSP for Bangladesh must be avoided, as it would have far-reaching consequences for jobs and for the economy,” said an EU release.

The EU wishes to remain engaged with Bangladesh, so that it can preserve the preferential access to the EU market, which has greatly helped socio-economic development over the years, it said.

The ILO will monitor progress in the joint efforts by stakeholders in improving the labour conditions in Bangladesh this year and throughout 2014, and the EU will follow this process closely.

EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht will host a meeting in Geneva on July 8, which will be attended by a high-level representation from the government of Bangladesh, the ILO, and the US government.

There will also be representatives from the RMG exporters’ association, some leading buyers, and trade unions.

The meeting, titled ‘Staying Engaged – A Sustainability Compact with Bangladesh’, will focus on agreeing on labour rights, safety and health at work, and responsible business conduct.

Following the recent factory disasters in Bangladesh, De Gucht met Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni on May 28 to shape a response that would address the problems in the country, while avoiding hardship for its citizens.

Both sides agreed that the key to a lasting improvement lies in the engagement of all actors in the supply chain, and of international support for work at a multilateral level, which can effect change in the most efficient and comprehensive manner.

The EU aims to uphold fundamental human rights, of which adhering to core labour standards is an intrinsic part. “This is why the EU is lending maximum support to the ILO process. The EU will also act in full respect of its WTO commitment to avoid discrimination.”

Source: Financial Express