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US reviewing Bangladesh's eligibility for GSP: USTR
22
May '13
Amid the ongoing discussions on the safety of workers in Bangladesh readymade garment (RMG) factories, in view of the recent tragic incidents in the country which took away the lives of more than 1100 people, the Government of United States is currently reviewing Bangladesh’s eligibility for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
 
“In order to qualify for trade preferences under the US GSP, beneficiary countries must meet certain statutory eligibility requirements, including taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to workers in the country. The United States is currently reviewing Bangladesh’s eligibility for GSP benefits based on the worker rights criterion for GSP eligibility,” office  of the United States Trade Representative informed fibre2fashion.
 
Earlier this month, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CLO) urged the US Government to withdraw, suspend or limit the US GSP benefits for Bangladesh until the country fulfills its most basic duties to workers. 
 
According to AFL-CLO, over 80 percent of apparels produced in Bangladesh are exported to the US and the EU and this creates a shared responsibility for finding a sustainable solution to the lax conditions and weak workplace protections in the country.
 
On the other hand, The Foundry, a publication of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, has said that withdrawal of GSP will increase the cost of exporting, ultimately eliminating jobs.
 
Although few garment buyers have announced their withdrawal from Bangladesh, more than 30 global brands, including H&M, Tesco, PVH and Inditex, have signed an accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to improve the working conditions in the country’s RMG factories.
 
In fact, H&M – the largest buyer of Bangladesh made clothing – has publicly stated that it will not withdraw orders and the company is committed to continue sourcing from the South Asian nation. 
 
In this context, a representative of the Clean Clothes Campaign, Ms. Emma Harbour says, “We hope that with improved and combined action by unions, labour rights groups, brands and governments, such as the Accord for Bangladesh building and fire safety, along with the commitment of brands to continue sourcing from country will see an improvement in safety, the payment of a living wage and greater access to freedom of association.” 
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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