Whether Bangladesh will obtain GSP plus status depends on the political decision of the European Union, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told parliament on Thursday.
Mentioning that the EU is formulating new GSP regulations, the commerce minister, replying to a question raised by ruling party lawmaker M Abdul Latif, said the government is making efforts to make sure Bangladesh gets the GSP plus benefit under those regulations.
"Bangladesh, as a least developed country (LDC), is currently getting duty free, quota free access to the EU market. Once Bangladesh finally graduates to the status of a developing country in 2026, it is expected to get three years of transition time under the current GSP law. Regular communication is being maintained with the EU to make sure Bangladesh continues to get duty free market access post-2029," he said.
The government has formulated a national action plan for the labour sector and sent it to the EU as per their demand, said the commerce minister, adding initiatives have been taken to ratify "Minimum Age Convention" to meet the EU-set conditions for securing the GSP plus benefit.
"The EU has various questions on Bangladesh's labor rights, factory safety, child labour and good governance. The Bangladesh government is trying to give satisfactory answers to these questions."
Replying to a question raised by another Awami League lawmaker, Nurunnabi Chowdhury, Tipu Munshi said the EU and the United States are currently the destinations of Bangladeshi exports.
"In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Bangladesh's exports to the European Union amounted to $17.46 billion, while that to the United States stood at $6.97 billion."
On the other hand, China is the major sourcing country for Bangladeshi importers. In FY21, Bangladesh imported goods worth $11.83 billion from China, the minister said.