The European Parliament's delegation on international trade on Tuesday said that the block wants full implementation of Bangladesh government's commitment to implement a labour roadmap.
"We want the full and successful implementation of the roadmap as a clear precondition for our further trade relations," said Heidi Hautala, MEP, head of the delegation.
She was speaking at an event titled 'DCAB Talk' with the European Parliament's Committee on international trade held at Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday, reports UNB.
Maximilian KRAH, Charles Whiteley, ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh also spoke at the function.
Rezaul Karim Lotus, president, Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) moderated the programme.
The EU delegation also included Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Jose Manuel GARCIA-MARGALLO, Sven SIMON, Agnes JONGERIUS and Jordi CANAS PEREZ.
"We note with concern reported delays in putting the labour law and the EPZ Labour Law in full compliance with international standards. Compliance with standards should be ensured for all special economic and processing zones," said Heidi Hautala.
The EU has been fully supportive of this process. But as these are two fundamental requirements in order to successfully transition to GSP-plus, it would be urgent to anticipate deadlines for entry into force and to ensure full effective implementation. No delay should be acceptable, she said.
The EU delegation discussed with the government on Bangladesh's status as a beneficiary of the EU's Everything But Arms (EBA) trade preference scheme and GSP-plus accession through which all Bangladeshi exports can enter the EU duty- and quota-free facility.
Bangladesh must be proud of its economic development and expected graduation from LDC status and EBA trading which is opening the way for the GSP-plus era, they said.
"EU congratulates Bangladesh on the progress achieved so far and the success story that is representing under the GSP. But as we are now moving to the next step, it is essential to ensure concrete progress and implementation of the required labour standard and workplace environment," the delegation added.
The EU is watching the government's commitment to the implementation of labour roadmap plan with great attention. The successful implementation of the roadmap will be linked not only to EBA but also to your graduation process and the subsequent potential accession to GSP-plus facility, the delegation opined.
"The EU has a zero-tolerance policy on child labour, and we attach great importance to fully eliminating child labour by 2025," they said.
The EU GSP regulation is currently under review, but clearly, the European Parliament attaches great importance to ensuring the effective implementation of GSP conditions with full transparency.
Reply to a query they said, "We also want to highlight that adequate protection of labour rights can only be guaranteed if fundamental human rights are respected. They cannot exist independently from one another. Respect of human rights is also a fundamental condition of GSP-plus accession."
Civil society must have adequate space for free expression and the EU pays attention to concerning situations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, EU delegation said.
They said the EU is also concerned on parts of the application of the Digital Security Act and the consequences this has been having on freedom of expression, notably in the case of journalists.