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Bangladesh may get back GSP

The US may reinstate GSP for Bangladesh this year. The trade privilege was suspended in June 2013 for poor labor rights and weak workplace safety. Since then, Bangladesh says it has made a lot of progress in improvement of workplace safety and labor rights.

The US too has expressed appreciation for the way Bangladesh has transformed its economy and diversified its exports -- from jute to textiles and heavy industry fields like ship building. After the suspension of the Generalised Systems of Preferences, 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.

US importers paid nearly five billion dollars as duty to customs for their apparel imports from Bangladesh over the last five years. Bangladesh exported goods worth 23 million dollars under GSP in 2013, when the trade privilege was suspended. Bangladesh's exports to the US have doubled in the last 10 years. The US is hopeful Bangladesh will amend labor laws and export processing zone laws to bring these to international standards in keeping with the country's commitment at the International Labor Conference.