Work roadmap implementation is a must for SPG plus installations: EU

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| Updated:
July 19, 2022 6:32:41 p.m.


The European Union parliamentary delegation visiting on Tuesday made it clear that Bangladesh needs to implement the labor roadmap and change the EPZ labor rules to get the GSP plus facilities from the EU.

They also marked the improvement of human rights and the elimination of child labor to strengthen trade ties between the EU and Bangladesh.

“I would like to underline that the full and successful implementation of the roadmap is a clear prerequisite for our future trade relations,” Ms. Heidi Hautala, Chair of the Delegation and Maximillian Krah said while speaking on behalf of the delegation while addressing the DCAB talks organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh (DCAB) in the city.

“A year ago, the government committed to implementing a Labor Roadmap. We warmly welcome this major step and we are following it with great attention because the successful implementation of the roadmap will be linked not only to the ABE but also to your graduation process and possible subsequent membership of the GSP more “, she added.

The delegation expressed concern about “reported delays” in bringing labor laws and EPZ labor laws into full compliance with international standards.

“Compliance with standards must be ensured for all special economic and processing zones. We are aware of the significant challenge this represents for your country and the EU has fully supported this process,” Ms Heidi said.

“But as these are two fundamental requirements for a successful transition to GSP+, it would be urgent to anticipate the deadlines for entry into force and to ensure effective and complete implementation”, she said. added.

Referring to their meetings with relevant government officials, she said: “We received promising signals today that the EPZ Labor Act will soon be amended to match government commitments. No delay should be acceptable”.

On the issue of child labour, she said, the EU has a zero tolerance policy on child labour, and the grouping attaches great importance to Bangladesh’s commitment to completely eliminate child labour. by 2025.

“As you know, the EU GSP Regulation is currently under review, but it is clear that the European Parliament attaches great importance to the effective implementation of GSP conditionalities, as well as transparency” , she pointed out.

Affirming that adequate protection of workers’ rights can only be guaranteed if fundamental human rights are respected, she said that respect for human rights is also a fundamental condition of GSP plus.

“Civil society must have adequate space for freedom of expression and we pay great attention to situations of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. This situation is not compatible with the basic human rights conditions under GSP plus,” she added.
Expressing concern about the Digital Security Act, she said the EU was concerned about parts of the application of the Digital Security Act and the consequences this has had on freedom of expression, particularly in the case of journalists.

“I was pleased to learn from the Minister of Justice that he had initiated an amendment process.”
She also noted that the full application of labor laws also requires an independent and efficient judiciary.

“The recent establishment of labor courts is a step in that direction,” she said, adding that the development of a truly independent and effective judiciary for labor law would also be an important stepping stone towards greater independence of judges, contributing to long-term sustainability. prosperity of the Bangladeshi people.

Among other conditionalities, the GSP+ requires the full implementation of the United Nations anti-corruption convention, she recalled.

“The EU is aware of its responsibility as a global importer and is indeed working on corporate due diligence legislation, which will apply to EU companies, also on the basis of the evolution of a new consumer mentality”

When asked to comment on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent appeal to Western countries to back off from the policy of imposing sanctions, she said: “I think it’s an idea wrong to blame the West for the situation we find ourselves in, because the root cause is that we have had to defend the peaceful international order in a situation where we have a serious violation of the sovereignty and independence of the ‘State “

“And if you don’t agree with that basic point, then I understand that you might be against sanctions, but sanctions are ultimately one of the most important ways to try to stop this conflict and cause the invader to withdraw”

Responding to a question about the extent of energy imports from Russia by Bangladesh in the context of the global energy crisis, Maximillian Krah, another member of the EU delegation, however, said: “According to this that I know, we are not pushing you to join the sanctions. This is your sovereign decision”

“I am from Germany, we have had negative trade since we decided to apply the sanctions and at the national level I am very critical of this policy.”

“But still, outside, we follow the policy and we will review it and I’m sorry if you say you don’t like it, but we can, on the other hand, not accept that the borders are modified by the military directly to our to our so you see this is a new situation,” he explained.

“But until we have looked at it, we will follow this, you have to find your own sovereign path. But I don’t think it’s our job now to advise you to push yourself and make demands. So you have your own sovereign government and you have to react and what we have to be careful about in my opinion is that this dispute does not harm our partnership and our economic affairs,” he said.

EU Ambassador to Dhaka, Charles Whitley, also participated in the programme, moderated by DCAB Chairman Rezaul Karim Lotus.

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