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Bangladesh to comply with EU regulations, amend labour laws

Bangladesh will amend labour laws and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) law to comply with recommendations of the European Union (EU) to retain trade benefits. Law Minister Annisul Huq has said the laws will be amended considering the interest of the country along with conditions given by the European Union as they are the largest buyer of our garments.

New laws will be introduced in Parliament this winter. Referring to the labour’s right to have trade union in Export Processing Zone (EPZ), the minister said existing worker welfare association will work as trade union there. Earlier, the EU called on Bangladesh to show tangible progress on labour rights to avoid temporarily losing the generalised system of preferences (GSP) benefit that permits the country duty-free export to the 28-nation economic bloc. This will be essential for Bangladesh to remain eligible for everything but arms regime.

EU had said they will need to monitor the situation more closely in the context of the GSP regulation, including through a dedicated mission to Bangladesh. Such monitoring could eventually lead to the launching of a formal investigation, which could result in temporary withdrawal of preferences. In the fiscal 2015-16, Bangladesh exported goods worth $18.68bn to the EU, which was 54.57 per cent of the total receipts for the year.