Bangladesh eligible for EU GSP
Bangladesh will remain an eligible country for the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) as the European Ombudsman has found no maladministration in a case filed over non-compliance of labour rights.
European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly on March 24 said she closed the case after finding no maladministration in it, according to EU website.
The case was filed by the International Trade Union Confederation, the Clean Clothes Campaign and HEC-NYU EU Public Interest Clinic in June 2018.
Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), yesterday said, "It is a very good news for Bangladesh as we are sometimes blamed for bad practice of labour rights by different quarters."
With this verdict, Bangladesh was again saved from earning a bad reputation of unfair labour practices, the BGMEA chief said in an audio message.
The European Union is the largest export destination of Bangladesh. Being a least developed country, Bangladesh has been enjoying the zero-duty benefit on export to the EU under its GSP since 1971.
With the zero-duty benefit to the EU in force, Bangladesh, eventually became the second largest apparel exporter following China. It now holds 6.4 percent global market share, business analysts say.
According to data from the Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exported garment items worth $21.13 billion to the EU in 2018-19 fiscal year, up from $19.62 billion and $17.75 billion in the previous two fiscal years.
The EU accounts for 63 percent of the total apparel exports from Bangladesh and 58 percent of all exports every year.
Regarding the European Ombudsman's decision, the EU in a statement said four trade union organisations wrote to the European Commission in October 2016 alleging that Bangladesh did not comply with its obligations in the area of fundamental labour rights.
They drew attention to very serious issues and urged the Commission to investigate the matter in the context of the GSP.
Dissatisfied with the fact that the Commission had failed to launch an investigation, the International Trade Union Confederation, the Clean Clothes Campaign and HEC-NYU EU Public Interest Clinic turned to the Ombudsman in June 2018, the EU said.