June 24, 2024, 3:57 am


Diplomatic correspondent

Published:
2024-05-20 12:33:13 BdST

BGMEA urges EU to continue tariff-free support for RMG post-LDC graduation


BGMEA President SM Mannan (Kochi) on Sunday urged the European Union (EU) to continue its support for Bangladesh’s RMG industry, particularly by extending the transition period from the “Everything But Arms (EBA) tariff-free” scheme to “GSP Plus incentive” scheme. 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) chief made the call during a meeting at the BGMEA Complex with a high-level delegation comprising ambassadors and representatives from the EU, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Italy.

Notably, the EU’s “Everything but Arms (EBA)” scheme provides full duty free and quota free access to 30 European countries for all products except weapons from LDC nations. After, leaving the LDC bracket, Bangladesh can enjoy similar benefits under the GSP-Plus scheme that targets relatively poorer developing countries, given it fulfills 27 UN requirements on human rights, environment and good governance.

The country also has to prove that it is still an economically vulnerable country despite LDC-graduation. Due to the stringent requirements only eight countries in the world currently enjoy EU’s GSP-Plus facilities. And that makes it an imperative for Bangladesh to rather seek continuation of tariff-free benefits under the existing EBA scheme even after LDC-graduation.

The delegation included EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley, Danish Ambassador Christian Brix-Moller, German Ambassador Achim Troster, Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessando, Swedish Ambassador Alexandra Berg Von Linde, Dutch embassy Chargé d'affaires Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Head of EU Delegation Bernd Spanier, Spanish Embassy Commercial Attaché Esther Pérez Tahoces and Trade Advisor to EU Delegation Abu Syed Belal.

The meeting saw active participation by BGMEA officials including Senior Vice President Khandoker Rafiqul Islam as well as Vice Presidents Arshad Jamal, Md. Nasir Uddin, Miran Ali and Abdullah Hil Rakib. A number of BGMEA directors also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, BGMEA president provided the latest overview of Bangladesh's ready-made garment (RMG) industry, emphasising recent developments in workplace safety, and workers' well-being.

The extension of the transition period between two different tariff-free schemes is crucial to ensuring Bangladesh’s economic growth even after it graduates from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category, he said. 

He sought cooperation from the EU envoy to build capacity of the country’s RMG industry to deal better with the bloc’s new due diligence policies and other emerging trade regulations.

BGMEA president expressed gratitude to the EU acknowledging its significant role as a long-standing friend and major development partner of Bangladesh.

He also requested the envoys to engage with European buyers to ensure fair pricing and ethical sourcing.

The BGMEA leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the business group’s partnership with the EU on shared goals.

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