Govt moves to implement labour law
The government will finalise the rules to implement the labour law in a week as a USTR team is scheduled to visit Bangladesh in September to review progress in workplace safety and labour rights, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday.
To regain trade benefits, a team from the commerce ministry will also visit the USA in the same month to highlight progress Bangladesh has made so far to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), he said.
The minister spoke after a meeting with the diplomats of the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and officials of the Department for International Development and International Labour Organisation in Dhaka.
The United States suspended the generalised system of preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh in 2013 after the Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse.
The USA did not put Bangladesh on the renewed list of recipients of the trade benefits this year. The draft rules have been sent to the law ministry for vetting, the minister said.
The formulation of the rules was the last condition of the 16-point Bangladesh Action Plan that the USTR asked the Asian country to fulfill to regain GSP.
After the twin industrial disasters, the government amended the labour law on July 15, 2013, but did not formulate the rules to implement the law at the factory level.
There is no reason for not reinstating the GSP for Bangladesh after the formulation of the rules, Ahmed said.
“We just like to say that we are exceedingly pleased to be here today. We renewed our commitment to help Bangladesh and the garment sector,” US Ambassador in Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said.
Bangladesh has made a tremendous progress in meeting the 16 conditions; still some important issues are there, which need to be addressed to reinstate the GSP, Bernicat said
Hanne Fugl Eskjær, Danish ambassador to Bangladesh, was also present at the meeting.