Govt forms body to avert risk of losing EU trade benefits

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 19 Apr 2017, 00:29:45

Govt forms body to avert risk of losing EU trade benefits

FE Report

The government formed on Tuesday a working committee to help address the issues raised by the Sustainability Compact and the International Labour Organisation, officials said.

The nine-member committee comprising representatives from commerce and labour ministries, factory owners and labour leaders was formed at the meeting of Tripartite Consultative Council (TCC) headed by state minister for labour Mujibul Haque at his secretariat office in the city, they added.

The committee was formed after the European Union warned of pulling out its trade benefits, known as Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), officials said.

The committee will assess the progress so far made and fine-tune the remaining issues, meeting participants said, adding it would also coordinate among the authorities to prepare the paper to be presented in the next Sustainability Compact and the ILO conference to be held on May 18 and mid-June next respectively.

The meeting discussed, among others, the four issues mentioned under a 'special paragraph' in the last International Labour Conference and how to address them, saying the EU recently also warned of "temporary" withdrawal of its GSP facility for Bangladesh if it failed to address them.

A delegation of Members of European Parliaments (MEPs) in its recent visit to Bangladesh last month also pressed for the full implementation of Sustainability Compact and addressing the ILO concerns before the next meeting to sustain the duty-free facility under the EU's EBA (Everything But Arms) regime.  

Labour leaders in the meeting favoured equal worker rights in the country's export processing zones in line with the existing labour law, a meeting participant said.

The minister also noted some provisions of the labour law needed to be amended though there was no decision in this regard, he added.

The next consultative meeting scheduled for May 14 might discuss the labour law and rules amendments issues in detail, he said.

Rejection of trade union registration application seeking registration is high in the port city of Chittagong, another meeting participant said, adding that the meeting pledged to look into the issues shortly.

Labour secretary Mikail Shipar, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Md Siddiqur Rahman and SKOP leaders Shirin Akhter and Wazedul Islam Khan, among others, were present in the meeting.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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