The Government of Bangladesh will be defending its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status and is preparing a proper response to be presented before the US Congress.
Talking to media, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Hossain said the Government is preparing a response and it will send a dossier of all the positive activities done in the past four years.
Bangladesh has managed to retain its GSP status on two earlier occasions since it secured the facility in 2007.
In October last year, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) made an appeal for revoking the GSP status of Bangladesh.
AFL-CIO claimed that labour rights are not protected in Bangladesh and the country’s fire-fighting system is not sufficient in apparel sector and at the Export Processing Zones.
Following the appeal made by AFL-FIO, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) served a notice and asked the Government of Bangladesh to defend itself against the allegation by Jan 31, 2013.
“The US Government has sought the response from Bangladesh Government showing improvement in working condition and workers’ facilities,” Mr. Faruque Hassan, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told fibre2fashion.
“The US allows duty-free access to 97 percent of Bangladeshi products under GSP, but actually only one percent of our goods go under GSP to the US, as readymade garments (RMG), our main export item, is not covered under GSP,” he explains.
“So, garment exports would not be affected even if the GSP facility is withdrawn by the US. But, we hope the US will continue to give GSP status to Bangladeshi products as we are improving working conditions and facilities given to workers,” he avers.
Talking about the steps being taken by clothing manufacturers, he says, “One problem the RMG manufacturers are facing is that of space constraint. But, they are now shifting to a new proper industrial building.”
“Moreover, the garment makers are also redesigning their working pattern,” he informs.