Securing GSP plus facility from EU

23 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh now stands in the comity of nations with pride and dignity. We were really in a very miserable condition during more than 200 years of colonial subjugation. To throw away all the obstacles to our freedom, we established an independent country through the glorious Liberation War in 1971. Now the whole world can see what we can achieve once our destiny is in our own hands.

By now, Bangladesh has met all the criteria for the transition to the developing country status from the current LDC rank and is bestowed with necessary recommendations from the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) for the graduation. Bangladesh earned this global recognition by dint of its hard work under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

CDP’s recommendation for Bangladesh’s graduation is a matter of honour and pride for the country. But for us it is not just a matter of basking in the global recognition; this also poses a number of challenges for the country. Graduation from the current level of development means loss of certain trade facilities that Bangladesh has been enjoying as a least developed country.

Once the country comes out of the LDC status, it will lose the current facilities under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) offered by EU after 2026 when the country is scheduled to exit from the present level. Loss of GSP facility means a drop in its yearly export to EU market by a significant margin. Given the fact that EU is the country’s largest export destination amounting to 61 per cent of its total exports and 64 per cent of total apparel export, the likely shrinkage of foreign trade will have devastating effect on the national economy.

So, Bangladesh must make strenuous efforts to get the GSP plus facilities in the EU market; and to achieve this, the country will have to meet more than two dozens of conditions including those linked to labour standard, human rights situation and governance within the next five years before the graduation in 2026.

However, it is to be noted that the Bangladesh-EU joint trade commission is going to formulate a strategy for the purpose. In the mean time, the General Economic Division of the government has put forward some recommendations as part of a roadmap for the next five years. We hope that the combined effect of these endeavours will enable the country overcome the challenges following the graduation.