EU threatens to withdraw GSP

The European Parliament has threatened to withdraw generalized system of preference (GSP), the duty and quota-free access to EU market that Bangladesh enjoys.

The warning comes after allegations of labour rights violations in the recent collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, where over a thousand have died, and the fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited, which claimed over 100 lives in November last year.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the European Parliament Plenary Session, a press release said.

Its website said Members of European Parliament (MEPs) called for justice to victims of these incidents and EU actions to prevent similar recurrence in the future.

The parliament adopted resolution on withdrawal of GSP preferences in the wake of ‘serious and systematic violations of principles set out in different human rights commission’.

The resolution also spoke of taking actions against those responsible for Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire, justice for the victims and a financial compensation plan to aid them.

A debate was held at the European Parliament on Thursday over the Rana Plaza collapse.

Some MEPs called for halting GSP facility until the safety standards in Bangladesh factories are found to be satisfactory.

However, Conservative Group Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Tannock said it would not be fair to slap a ban on Bangladesh with an excuse of a building collapse.

“Bangladesh is a safe and stable democratic country. It will not be just to do this for factory environment.”

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht agreed, according to a BBC report.

He said many countries had been blamed for working environment. “Bangladesh should not be singled out.”

Greek MEP Giorgios Toussas dubbed Rana Plaza mishap as “a crime against the working class, dressed up as industrial accident”. He called upon Bangladeshi workers to oust capitalist system.

Europe is the largest buyer of Bangladeshi ready-made garment. Country’s three-fourth of export revenue comes from the garment sector.

After the Rana Plaza collapse, Bangladesh drew flaks from global media over working environment and cheap wages. Several United States and European organisations had threatened to boycott Bangladeshi products.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni is expected to sit with European Union officials at Brussels at the end of May.

Source: Bd news24

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