Bangladesh has asked the European Union (EU) to extend International Support Measures (ISM) for six more years after its graduation from the least developed countries grouping, in view of the current global economic situation.
The request was made when PM’s Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah held meetings with the Directorate General for Trade and Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission in Brussels, the capital of Belgium on Thursday.
The Bangladesh side apprised the EU of developments in these areas and the latter reiterated their interest to continue strengthening cooperation with Bangladesh.
DG Employment Joost Korte highlighted the mutually beneficial relationship being enjoyed by both sides and stressed that Bangladesh is becoming an increasingly important partner for the EU.
Noting the status of implementation of the National Action Plan on the Labour Sector of Bangladesh, he conveyed the importance of staying on course on the commitments made by Bangladesh.
Matters related to factory safety were discussed. The Bangladesh side underscored the extensive improvements made in workplace safety, sustainable production techniques in the green factories, factory inspection, use of technology and upgraded machinery.
During the meeting with DG Trade, the EU’s ongoing negotiations on the draft GSP legislation and Bangladesh’s transition from EBA status to GSP+ was touched upon.
With the ongoing external shocks on the global economy, food and energy crisis and volatility in international financial markets, the Bangladesh side requested the European Union (EU) for an extension of International Support Measures (ISM) for another six years after Bangladesh’s graduation from the status of a least developed country.
The Bangladesh side also sought the EU’s strong support in the WTO negotiations for the submission of the LDC Group for an extension of International Support Measures (ISM) for the same (six) period after graduation.
Bangladesh also requested that the country’s trade interests, particularly in the RMG sector be protected in the new GSP regulation under consideration of the EU.
The Bangladesh side said the need for fair pricing and responsible business conduct by the companies and brands was stressed upon in addition to requesting consideration of a mechanism under Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence to make relevant companies accountable in these areas.
Later in the afternoon, the Principal Secretary met Michael Hager, Head of Cabinet of the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.
During the meetings, the Principal Secretary was accompanied by Commerce (Sr) Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and Bangladesh Ambassador to Belgium and the EU Mahbub Hassan Saleh, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, President of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) Nihad Kabir and Secretary General of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation Farooq Ahmed.