The government should strengthen political and diplomatic relationships with the US to revive the country's GSP status in the American market, analysts said yesterday.
Sometimes the US considers economic decisions on the basis of political relationships in global trade and commerce, said AB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former adviser to the caretaker government.
“Mine workers in China are frequently becoming the victims of accidents. But still, the US is not imposing any harsh trade actions on China for a good political relation,” Islam said.
Another reason why the US does not take any strict action against China is that there are a lot of Chinese investments in the US stock markets and other government sectors, he said.
“So, Bangladesh government should also strengthen political and diplomatic ties with the US,” Islam said at the launch of a new book -- US GSP: Economic or Political -- at the Shawkat Osman Memorial auditorium at the Central Public Library in Dhaka. Ranjan Sen, a journalist, authored the book.
Continuous multifaceted dialogue with the US is needed to get the generalised system of preferences reinstated, said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute.
Besides the diplomatic efforts, the government can engage non-resident Bangladeshis in the US for this purpose, he said.
Apparel exporters have to pay 15.61 percent duty to enter the US market, while other countries pay much lower, said Abdus Salam Murshedy, a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“Bangladesh has eliminated child labour successfully, and this time also we will be able to regain the GSP status fulfilling all conditions,” he said.
The GSP suspension will not have a huge impact on the economy, but will tarnish the country's image, said Roy Ramesh Chandra, general secretary of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council.
The US decision on GSP suspension did not come in a day or two, as the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisation had filed a petition for scrapping the trade privilege in June 2007, said Humayun Kabir, a former Bangladesh ambassador to the US.
Four rounds of hearings were held in the United States Trade Representative since the submission of the petition, but Bangladesh did not take any step to improve work environment and labour rights, leading to the suspension in June last year, he said.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh has already fulfilled most of the 16 conditions set by the US for regaining the GSP status.