It is very unfortunate. The world knows that conditions are getting better in Bangladesh. We are working closely with the government, the ILO, the EU and others. The EU offers us GSP. Our goal is to turn the garment sector into a $50 billion industry by 2021.
The labour law was amended. Labour rules have been approved by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Labour. They are waiting to be vetted by the Ministry of Law. The number of trade unions has gone up to more than four hundred from less than a hundred. Labour inspectors have been employed.
We are giving the highest priority on safety issues. We have made very genuine efforts to meet all the 16 conditions laid out by the US government. We may not have achieved 100 percent on all of them; perhaps we have achieved 60 or 70 percent on some. But we are trying our best. They should give us the GSP to inspire us to do better. The suspension does not hurt us financially but it reflects poorly on our image. We feel demoralised.
We want to work together for a better future for us all. We request the US government to continue the GSP to Bangladesh.
The commentator is president, Bangladesh of Garment Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BGMEA).