Labour rights violations, red-tapism might hamper Bangladesh-EU trade: Envoy

Photo Courtesy: Centre for Governance Studies (CGS)

Violation of labour rights and "red-tapism" in business are the two big factors that might hamper trade between Bangladesh and Europe, said EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whitely today (July 15), stressing the need to improve on these fronts.

"If you have good consumer faith, good labour standards, then you won't have NGOs in Europe questioning the labour standards in the source country," he said.

On the other hand, investors also look for a good climate environment when they decide to invest, Whitely said.

The EU envoy made these observations while addressing a programme titled "Meet the Ambassador", hosted by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) in collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh at a hotel in the capital.

CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman moderated the event.

An EU delegation, during a dialogue in Bangladesh on business climate, spoke of these aspects and other issues with the authorities, Whitely said.

A delegation of six members of the European Parliament will also be visiting Bangladesh starting tomorrow. The delegation will visit the factories and meet the authorities to understand the whole range of trade-related issues including labour rights, environmental standards and investment, Whitely said.

EU is Bangladesh's single largest destination for RMG exports.

Bangladesh currently gets a GSP facility that provides duty and quota-free market access to the EU, but with Bangladesh graduating from LDC, the facility will be over by 2029.

Then, Bangladesh has scope to avail of another scheme, GSP Plus, but more stringent conditions will be attached to avail that, including labour rights, human rights, democracy and environmental compliance.

Whitely said Bangladesh has already signed all the related UN conventions but the implementation is now the key. The country has already done well in terms of green industries, he added.

"Bangladesh has already done a lot of improvement. When the EU delegation visits, I will try that they have a bigger picture," the EU ambassador said.


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