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USTR seeks public comments on GSP status of Bangladesh
10
Jan '13
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has sought public comments from the stakeholders on the possible withdrawal, suspension or limitation of benefits extended to Bangladesh under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by January 31, 2013.
 
As part of an ongoing country practice review, the GSP Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is considering whether to recommend that duty-free treatment accorded to imports from Bangladesh under the GSP program be withdrawn, suspended, or limited on the grounds that Bangladesh is not taking steps to afford to workers in Bangladesh internationally recognized workers’ rights, specifically the right of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively, according to a notice issued by Federal Register of USTR.
 
The GSP Subcommittee is seeking public comments on the effect of a withdrawal, suspension, or limitation of GSP benefits on products imported into the United States from Bangladesh.
 
In 2007, the GSP Subcommittee accepted for review a GSP country practice petition submitted by the AFL–CIO seeking the removal of GSP benefits for Bangladesh based on the country’s non-compliance with the GSP statutory eligibility criteria related to worker’s rights.
 
Subsequently, the GSP Subcommittee held public hearings on the petition in October 2007, April 2009, and January 2012, and also invited public comments on the petition on several occasions.
 
Based on the most recent available information, including updated reports from the AFL–CIO, the GSP Subcommittee found that there is lack of progress made by the Government of Bangladesh in addressing workers’ rights issues in the country, which warrants consideration of possible withdrawal, suspension, or limitation of Bangladesh’s trade benefits under GSP.
 
However, as per law, approval of the US President is necessary to implement any change in Bangladesh’s trade benefits under GSP.
 
At present, only a small fraction (less than one percent) of Bangladesh's total exports of $4.87 billion to the US enjoy duty-free status under the GSP. Readymade garments (RMG), which account for nearly 80 percent of Bangladesh's exports, do not enjoy any benefit under the GSP.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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