Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Sunday requested the US government to withdraw the suspension of GSP facility for Bangladeshi products in the US market.
BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam made the request during a luncheon meeting with Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal in a city hotel today.
Biswal was accompanied by the US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena and other US government officials, said a BGMEA release. The meeting continued for about 1.15 hours.
The BGMEA President also reiterated the demand for duty-free market access for apparel items to the United States to support the industry’s journey to sustainability.
He updated Biswal about various initiatives and actions taken in collaboration with the government of Bangladesh, ILO, industry associations, labour unions and brands to ensure workplace safety and workers’ rights in the RMG industry.
Atiqul Islam briefed the delegates about the activities of the National Tripartite Plan of Action, Accord, Alliance and BGMEA’s safety initiatives.
The issue of minimum wage review was also discussed in particular along-with the importance of ethical pricing to afford the newly-enhanced minimum wage and the ongoing workplace safety initiatives.
At the meeting with the BGMEA leaders, Nisha Biswal laid emphasis on improving labour conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
“I think that there’s an important opportunity here for Bangladesh, for industry and labour, for government and the civil society…to work together to improve the labour situation and continue to boost Bangladesh economy,” she told reporters after the meeting.
The Assistant Secretary of State conveyed the vision of President Barack Obama for a rebalanced Asia and the strategic importance of Bangladesh in this region.
Underlining the importance of the readymade garment industry to the economic prosperity of Bangladesh, she stressed on the significance of union based labor rights and safe working condition in this industry.
BGMEA president M Atiqul Islam said they had a very good and productive meeting with her, and hoped that Bangladesh would be able to regain the GSP facility in the US market that has remained suspended.
BGMEA board of directors were also present.