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Bangladesh hopes US relents on GSP

Bangladesh has a wait ahead for GSP from the United States. The main reason is Bangladesh has yet to make significant progress on labor rights. GSP is a US trade initiative designed to stimulate growth in emerging economies. This is achieved by offering duty free exports. Over the years, a number of countries have been suspended from GSP as they have failed to maintain GSP requirements. In most cases, countries regain their status once they take steps to address the issues.

The US suspended GSP facility for Bangladesh in 2013. After the suspension of the Generalised Systems of Preferences scheme, Bangladesh signed up for a 16-point action plan to get it back. Bangladesh's main export item to the US, apparel, is excluded from GSP. Bangladesh's apparel exports are subjected to a 15.62 per cent duty upon entry to the US whereas the duty for other countries is much lower.

Bangladesh was confident, significant progress had been made regarding workplace safety and workers’ rights. It tried convincing US decision makers that any previous worries should no longer prevent new trading ventures being created. The US remains Bangladesh’s largest export market. Bangladesh's exports to the US have doubled in the last ten years.