Bangladesh is hoping the US restores the GSP facility and has been making repeated requests for it. But the country has to fulfill conditions including a transparent database, workers’ rights and safety and implementation of labor laws. Bangladesh’s $25 billion garment industry has been facing scrutiny since the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, in which more than 1,100 people were killed.
The US suspended GSP facility on grounds of factory safety and workers' rights concerns. Against this backdrop, thousands of factories were inspected and dozens closed over safety concerns. Suspension of GSP means enhanced duties on exports of Bangladesh to the US. At present, more than 7,000 factories in Bangladesh are producing goods for the global fashion business. Many of those are small- and medium-sized factories, workers of which indirectly produce goods for foreign brands through larger factories.
The US is the single largest export market for Bangladesh. GSP was established by the US in 1976. The aim is to promote exports of low income countries to industrialized countries in order to support their economic growth and development. The beneficiaries of GSP include all South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan. Only Bangladesh remains excluded.