Government Policy

Tofail optimistic of GSP Plus status from EU

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today expressed his optimism to get GSP Plus status from the European Union (EU) after graduating from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by 2021.

"We know some challenges would appear on way to availing GSP Plus status . . . but, we can meet any kind of conditions to get it," he added.

The minister passed the remarks at a joint press briefing after a meeting with the 16-delegation of EU Parliament, led by Chair of the International Trade Committee of EU Parliament Bernd Lange, at the State Guest House Meghna this noon.

He said Bangladesh is diversifying its exports to cut dependency on RMG and that is why "we have set goals to earn $ 5 billion from IT sector by 2021 while $ 5 billion from pharmaceutical sector and $ 5 billion from leather and leather goods".

Replying to a query, the minister said many countries are not providing quota and duty free access to Bangladesh but bilateral trade with those countries is running well. "We would go for FTA with different countries after getting out from the LDCs."

Tofail said the EU delegation is pleased to know that Bangladesh has attained desired progresses in labour safety and security, trade union, infrastructure, labour law and fire safety. "The government has lifted all duties on fire safety equipment to meet the requirement."

This is the fourth time the EU delegation sat with Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza tragedy to follow up for the betterment of the overall scenario of the country's apparel sector.

Terming the meeting and exchange of views as fruitful, the EU delegation leader congratulated Bangladesh for attaining impressive economic development with 6-7 percent growth.

Mentioning that the EU is providing quota and duty free access to all 48 LDCs for everything excepting arms, he said: "Compared to other 47 counties, I emphasized that Bangladesh has done its best and there is no doubt about it."

Talking about Bangladesh's ambition to be a middle-income country, Lange said: "We have to look forward after the LDC status is gone and off course the LDC is getting better for other status GSP Plus or trade agreement."

Referring to the 27 conventions for getting GSP Plus status, he said: "We have to prepare to achieve this end. The process is going on but time is limited, so we agreed to focus on these requirements for GSP Plus and try to include these conditions into paradox as it would help us to go for a concrete requirement."

Answering to a question, Lange replied that "We have got a picture after visiting different factories and I am optimistic that these people are really able to improve the condition needed for moving ahead."

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)