BANGLADESH: US mulls withdrawal of GSP facility
The US is looking at the possible withdrawal, suspension or limitation of Bangladesh's duty-free benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
While most textiles, apparel and footwear are not eligible for GSP duty-free treatment, the review is thought to have been prompted by the Tazreen Fashion factory fire in November, where more than 111 people lost their lives.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking public comments on the move by 31 January.
It specifically cites the grounds "that Bangladesh is not taking steps to afford to workers in Bangladesh internationally recognized worker rights."
Pressure from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has led to hearings on the removal of GSP benefits for Bangladesh since 2007.
Garment exports to the US under GSP facility account for just 0.6% of Bangladesh's total exports, according to Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.
"We'll properly explain our position at an appropriate time. We want the continuation of the GSP facility," she told reporters this week.
The minister also said the government is working to improve labour standards and ensure quality of the products that go to global markets, especially readymade garments.
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