US wanted to know about Shahidul murder case
A delegation of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday wanted to know from the BGMEA leaders about the progress in the labour leader Shahidul Islam murder case and the labour rights situation in the garment sector.
The delegation enquired about the issues at a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at its headquarters in the capital's Uttara, the association said in a statement.
Shahid, president of the Gazipur unit of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation, was beaten to death outside Prince Jacquard Sweater Ltd in Tongi on the night of June 25.
The USTR, the chief trade negotiating body for the American government, also wanted to know about trade unionism, progress in the reform to the labour law and the minimum wage for garment workers.
The government earlier this year formed a wage board for apparel workers to recommend a fresh minimum wage for them.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said a suspect in the murder of the labour leader has been arrested and that reform to the labour law is underway.
The meeting discussed the revival of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status of Bangladesh, which was suspended in June 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse citing poor labour and workplace safety.
Faruque yesterday demanded duty-free market access of Bangladeshi garment items, made from the imported American cotton, to the US markets.
The BGMEA said local suppliers have improved workplace safety in line with the recommendations from the international buyers' forums Accord and Alliance. It sought cooperation from the USTR so the American businesspeople procure more RMG products from Bangladesh.
Faruque expressed concern that the Bangladeshi garment suppliers are being affected due to the Russia-Ukraine war although the country is not directly involved in the war.
Brendan Lynch, acting assistant USTR for the South and Central Asia, led the visiting delegation to the meeting.
The team is touring Bangladesh for holding the seventh round of meetings under the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa). The meeting is set to begin in Dhaka today.