Aug 13

STATEMENT: Tofail blames Khaleda for GSP suspension

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Wednesday said the government wouldn’t take any further initiative to get back the generalized system of preferences (GSP) of the USA, UNB news agency reported.

“We won’t take any further move to get back the GSP. We’re an independent country and can’t bow down,” he told reporters at his ministry while responding to a question on the US market facilities.

He refuted the opposition BNP’s allegation of government’s failure for its “bad relation with the USA. We have no bad relation with the US government.”

The commerce minister on Wednesday said a team of United States Trade Representative (USTR) is coming to Bangladesh in September to discuss the issue.

Bangladesh has been enjoying GSP facilities in the US market for a long time. But, the US government suspended the facilities following the Rana Plza RMG tragedy that killed about 1,100 workers, and asked the Bangladesh government to fulfill some conditions to improve working environment.

Tofail said Bangladesh has done everything to comply with the US conditions. “If the GSP is not reinstated, it won’t cast any negative impact on Bangladesh export to the US market. Our export is increasing day by day and we’re expanding our destination to many new markets. Virtually, it’ll have no impact.”

The commerce minister, however, blamed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for her article on a US newspaper against Bangladesh’s export to the US market. “She cannot ignore her responsibility for her role in having the GSP suspended.”

He also blamed labour leaders, including his party’s Roy Ramesh and BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan, for sending letters to US senators asking them to suspend GSP.

Tofail believed that these have influenced the USTR to suspend the GSP.

Source: Prothom Alo