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GSP plus, labour rights to get focus at meeting with EU trade delegation

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GSP Plus and labour rights will get priority in the meeting between Bangladesh and the trade delegation from the EU Parliament, which will visit Dhaka from July 17 to 20.

The trade delegation, comprising five parliamentarians of the EU, will visit some private sector factories and will assess the economic front of the country, officials of the foreign ministry said.

Commenting on the issue, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said that there will be a wide-ranging discussion with the EU delegation.

Bangladesh draws worldwide attention for keeping up its growth momentum despite the global recession triggered by the pandemic and war, Mr Shahriar pointed out.

Responding to a question, he said that the discussion on the GSP plus facility has already started and many countries pledged to extend it up to 2029 from 2026.

Already Australia informed us that they are extending it and we seek such extension not only from the EU but also from other countries like Japan, and Canada.

The EU is reviewing its entire GSP regime and the draft of the review is tabled in the EU parliament, he said adding that Bangladesh needs to realign its position during GSP plus negotiations with the EU.

Issues related to labour rights are critical in this regard, he mentioned referring to the EU and US demand for the introduction of uniform labour rules both inside and outside the EPZ.

When this issue was raised in Washington during the bilateral economic consultation, we told them that the foreign investors came into the EPZs under a fixed set of rules.

“If we change that drastically that will be an injustice to them so we sought time saying that we would try to implement the uniformity within two or three years,” the state minister said.

The state minister said the EU is providing them EBA facilities to many other countries including Bangladesh.

“But no other country can use the facility like Bangladesh, which immensely reaps benefit through using this facility. The EU delegation can see how we do that and tell our success story to other countries”, Mr Shahriar said.

Non disclosure of Tariq Rahaman’s status by UK painful

The state minister said that the non-disclosure of the citizenship status of BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahaman by the UK government is ‘painful’.

Responding to a question, he said Bangladesh several times requested the UK government to know about the citizenship status of Mr Rahman, the eldest son of former prime minister and BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.

“But they did not respond to the request” the state minister informed adding that it is frustrating not to get the information from a country with which Bangladesh has a deep-rooted friendship.

“We are sure that his Bangladeshi passport is revoked and we have shown the proof of that” he added.

Tariq, who was sent to London by the military-backed caretaker regime in 2008, was convicted by Bangladeshi courts in several cases after the assumption of power by the ruling Awami League.

The UK officials time and again mentioned that they cannot sent back Tariq to Bangladesh as it is under the jurisdiction of the UK court.

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