Bangladesh should be proud that the country has some of the world's best garment factories, said the outgoing Dutch ambassador in Bangladesh Leoni Cuelenaere yesterday.
Currently, the country has 73 green factories certified by the US Green Building Council and 320 are waiting to be certified by the American organisation. Of the top 10 green factories, seven are in Bangladesh.
“Some of the world's best factories are located in Bangladesh. Be proud of yourself,” said Cuelenaere at a farewell ceremony accorded to her by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office in Dhaka.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse the global focus was on Bangladesh. The global focus is also on Bangladesh now but it is for a positive reason, she said.
Bangladesh supplies 20 percent of the total requirement of garment items to the EU in a year, according to Cuelenaere.
She advised the country to maintain a warm relationship with the EU so that it can continue to enjoy the zero-duty benefit under the GSP plus upon graduation from the least developed country (LDC) bracket in 2027.
Once Bangladesh becomes a developing country, the EU will levy a 12.5 percent duty on export.
However, there is a possibility of continuation of the same duty-free benefit to the EU even after the graduation provided certain conditions are met.
The GSP scheme is awarded to a country which is very much compliant in business, production and in supply chain of the exportable goods.
Bangladesh will have to ratify 27, including four core, conventions of the UN to be eligible for the continued GSP plus benefit to the EU.
BGMEA has accorded the farewell to Cuelenaere recognising her extraordinary advocacy in favour of locally made garment items during the turbulent times for the sector.
After each of the incident, the garment sector faced an image crisis, but the ambassadors of different countries, including the Netherlands, launched massive campaigns in favour of Bangladesh.
The campaign by the envoys helped in brightening the image of the country. Before her departure, the ambassador, who completed her three-year tenure in Dhaka, also said Bangladesh's garment sector is now safe.
In his recognition speech, Siddiqur Rahman, BGMEA president, highlighted the Dutch ambassador's contribution in the meetings of three secretaries and five diplomats committee formed to strengthen the safety in the country's garment sector.