The European Union yesterday reiterated its intent to continue trade benefits for Bangladesh.
“For the moment the GSP will be there for Bangladesh,” said William Hanna, the EU ambassador to Bangladesh, after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat.
The reaffirmation comes after reports surfaced following the national elections on January 5 of the 28-nation bloc's plan to cancel the generalised system of preferences. However, Hanna on Sunday said there was no such plan.
Trade is one of the most important issues of cooperation between the EU and Bangladesh, he said yesterday, adding that the country has benefitted greatly from it.
“We have a project to develop and further diversify trade and automation of the GSP,” Hanna said, while citing the country's “remarkable” export growth to the EU last year.
“I hope there will be a favourable environment, a peaceful environment and continuation of dialogues for trade and commerce until the country moves forward.”
About the Sustainability Compact that the government signed with the EU and the International Labour Organisation last July to improve labour, health and safety conditions for garment workers, he said: “There has been a good progress in safety standards and inspection, but the government needs to closely work in some areas.”
Later, at a press conference, Ahmed said other than the EU, India is also an important trading partner for the country as it has already allowed duty-free entry of almost all products except 25 alcoholic and drug products.
“We are working to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers for grabbing more market share in India,” he said, adding that the government will continue to exploring new destinations for markets diversification as well.