Dhaka urges no harsh EU measures
Bangladesh has urged the European Union (EU), the largest export destination of the nation, not to take any harsh trade action, as the government is taking necessary measures to ensure occupational safety in the factories.
The commerce ministry sent a letter to the Bangladesh ambassador in the EU on May 2 explaining the latest situation of the RanaPlaza tragedy and the government’s action plans for ensuring the safety standards in the garment factories.
“In the letter, we explained the tragedy. We have also said the government is very sincere for the safety of the garment workers, as it has already formed different committees after the incident,” Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed told The Daily Star by phone on Saturday.
As the ministry has replied to the recent statement of the EU, Bangladeshi officials in the Europe will lobby through their diplomatic channels so that the EU does not take any actions against Bangladesh, Ahmed said.
After the April 24 collapse of RanaPlaza that has so far killed at least 550 people, the EU gave a statement on April 30, warning trade action against Bangladesh.
He said a lot of workers will be jobless if the EU takes trade actions against Bangladesh, as the country will lose its competitiveness worldwide. If the country loses its competitiveness, more and more international buyers will not place work orders in Bangladesh, he said.
The bloc of 27 countries considers actions for improving safety standards in the factories to prevent frequent factory accidents.
In the letter, EU said it was concerned about the labour conditions, including health and safety provisions, established for workers in factories across the country.
“The EU is presently considering appropriate actions, including through the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) -- through which Bangladesh currently receives duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market under the ‘Everything But Arms’ scheme – in order to incentivise responsible management of supply chains involving developing countries,” the statement said.
The EU, where 60 percent garment is being exported, became the major market for garment for having duty-free and quota-free access under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) scheme.