Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the apex trade body to represent solely the knitwear industry of Bangladesh, urged the European Union (EU) to extend Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a trade privilege, for the next 12 years.
The BKMEA made the request at a meeting with the EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink at the office of the trade body in capital Dhaka on February 5, 2018.
Mansoor Ahmed, BKMEA’s first Vice President, handed over a letter of request to the EU Ambassador demanding the extension of the existing GSP facilities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation timeframe of 2030. He told Apparel Resources that the meeting was held in a very delightful environment and the EU Ambassador assured them of taking the matter into consideration.
“We informed her about the projects undertaken for the welfare of the readymade garment workers, mostly the women from the rural areas, and showed the blueprint of future initiatives for the betterment of the labour rights within the knitwear industry,” Ahmed informed us.
The letter further underlines the request of expanding the most desired trade advantage for another decade even after the graduation of Bangladesh from least developed to middle-income country, which the Government planned to declare by the end of 2021.
Teerink, however, said after the graduation of Bangladesh to a middle-income country, it would have to make preparations to be eligible for GSP Plus facilities in the EU. Under the initiatives of Accord and Alliance, Bangladesh has made significant progress regarding workplace safety and workers’ rights but many more are still to be done, she added.
The BKMEA leaders also requested the envoy to provide visa to the Bangladeshi knitwear exporters within the shortest possible time as they (the exporters) need to visit the EU countries regularly to organise single-country trade fairs.