Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan on Wednesday said the USA deprives Bangladesh of availing itself of GSP facilities without any comparative assessment that other countries, now enjoying the facilities, are well ahead of Bangladesh in terms of compliance issues, UNB reports.
Noting that Bangladesh will have to be compared with 122 countries now under the generalized system of preferences (GSP) facilities, Dr Sobhan said, “Nobody knows that all countries have already come under compliance standards. The situations of all countries are not well ahead of Bangladesh.”
He was addressing a dialogue titled ‘Bangladesh Apparels Sector: Does Margin Matter for Ensuring Compliance?’ arranged by CPD at Brac Centre Inn in the city.
Prof Sobhan said, “The GSP issue has to be seen through legitimised comparison. Bangladesh has to raise the issue with the USA government that no comparative assessment has been done at all. It is unfortunate.”
Bangladesh should continue solving problems as per its strength or power and responsibility, he said.
When the comparative assessment issue will draw attention of international forum, a pressure will be created unless it is proved that the 122 countries have compliance standards. “Otherwise, the decision is not acceptable,” he added.
CPD additional research director Dr Khondaker G Moazzem presented the report of the CPD study saying that compliance will have to be ensured in the apparel sector by improving government regulation system and increasing the margin of profit through negotiation with buyers.
He said Bangladesh spends high amounts on fabric and packaging, but low amounts on labour and compliance related costs compared to that of China, Vietnam and other countries.
Noting that the rise in compliance related expenses may reduce competitiveness as the prices of products in the countries are very close to those of Bangladesh, Dr Moazzem in his report said both suppliers and buyers have to take the responsibility towards ensuring compliance in production process.
Speaking on the occasion, CPD distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said the compliance standards need to be harmonised to develop the competitive market saying, “You’ll make Bangladesh a soft target while forget China…this is duplicity.”
He said many small and medium factories will have to be shut down in Bangladesh due to financial shock involving the compliance issue. “If it’s done without relocation of the enterprises, it’ll be a great loss for Bangladesh.”
Dr Debapriya said the problem, Bangladesh is now facing, is time mismanagement in the flow of finance from the Accord Alliance. Bangladesh was asked to ensure compliance within certain timeframe, but fund does come in time, he noted.
Chairman of Opex Group Anisur Rahman Sinha said compliance is not a choice, it is requirement. The issue is not a negotiable. There’re certain rules to set a factory, which need to be followed, he added.
Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group Rubana Huq and CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman, also spoke in it.