No more initiative to regain GSP: Tofail
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today said the government will not take any more initiative to regain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status in the US market.
“I’m not interested at all to take any initiative to review the US move on GSP, but I hope the US will consider the status to Bangladesh at the upcoming Ticfa meeting,” Tofail said.
The minister was speaking at a press conference held at his office in Dhaka to clarify the government’s position following the latest move by the Obama administration on GSP.
“Many countries do not want the rise of Bangladesh. Even Pakistan, where the human rights are violated and working condition is bad, has been provided with the GSP facilities,” said the commerce minister in his reaction.
“There is no reason, except political one for not giving the privilege to Bangladesh, as we have fulfilled almost all the conditions set by the US,” the minister added.
A bickering relationship between the US and Bangladesh has been continuing over the last few years for some reasons.
“Majority of the developed and developing countries have been giving duty-free benefit to Bangladesh’s apparel items. But only the US is not giving us the duty-free benefit to our garment items,” he also said.
Bangladesh signed the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa) with the US in November 2013 aiming to resolve the bilateral trade related disputes through discussions.
The US government left Bangladesh out of the renewed GSP scheme due to partial fulfillment of the 16 conditions for improving safety and workers’ rights, although the country has been lobbying with the Obama Administration over the last two years for reinstatement of the trade privilege.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR), the chief trade negotiation body for the US, renewed the GSP on July 29, for 122 countries where other South Asian nations like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan have been included for the trade benefit.
US President Barack Obama signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 on June 29 under which the GSP programme has been extended for two years up to December 31, 2017.