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'GSP restoration for B'desh depends on progress'
Feb '16
US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat took to social media to reiterate the US position that the Generalised System of Preferences or GSP will be restored to Bangladesh depending on the progress under the US-prescribed GSP Action Plan.

“Restoration of GSP will depend on the progress your government makes under the GSP Action Plan,” she told when questioned during a Facebook chat about the restoration of tariff benefit that remained suspended for long.

She also said that the GSP does not give any extra benefit to ready-made garments from any country, even as Dhaka is pushing Washington to restore the privilege.

Bernicat said the US proudly remains the single largest importer of Bangladeshi readymade garments (RMG). “We expect that trade to continue to grow, despite the fact GSP does not provide benefits for RMG from any country in the world ….All GSP countries pay the same duties,” she said during the chat at the weekend to mark a year of her term in Dhaka.

She mostly talked about the RMG sector in light of the recent meeting on the Sustainability Compact implementation.

The Compact had been jointly agreed on by the Bangladesh government, the EU, the US and the ILO in 2013 in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse to ensure workers' rights and safety.

The US revoked the GSP privileges Bangladesh enjoyed on a few products after the accident and rolled out a 16-point action plan for improving working conditions. Although Washington acknowledges the progress made so far made, it insists that Bangladesh needs to do more to get the privileges back.

Bernicat said that ensuring workers' rights was essential for a country to get GSP facilities.

She said many people were working to safeguard workers' rights and that safety standards had “improved”.

“The US is part of this effort and will continue to be until Bangladesh can demonstrate progress in areas such as expeditious union registration and for factories to fix the safety problems that were identified during the initial assessments,” she said.

The Bangladesh government and garment exporters often claim they have to pay more than other countries by way of duties to access the US market. But Washington has consistently denied this allegation. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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