BANGLADESH: EU says "no change" in GSP status
The European Union (EU) is not considering any change to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status in Bangladesh, according to an industry figure.
Speaking at his office on Sunday (19 January), William Hanna, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh said: "The EU High Representative's statement on the 5 January concerning the general elections, and the latest resolution of the European Parliament on political developments in Bangladesh did not mention the question of trade. The EU is not considering any change to the GSP for the moment."
Bangladesh enjoys full duty free and quota free access to the European market under the Everything but Arms (EBA) arrangement. More than half of Bangladesh's total exports to the EU.
Last June, Bangladesh saw its trade benefits to the US withdrawn over concerns about the country's serious shortcomings in worker rights and workplace safety standards.
Before the withdrawal, Bangladesh enjoyed duty-free access to the US for around 5,000 different products but did not include its main export item, ready-made garments - which are subject to import duties of 15-32%.
The decision was largely influenced by the Tazreen Fashion factory fire that killed 114 people in November 2012, and the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, where more than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives.
Bangladesh's ready-made garment exports jumped 20% in the first half of the fiscal year, despite ongoing political uncertainty, labour unrest and factory safety issues.
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