Bangladesh does not export products at the whims of anyone. The country is exporting because it can provide quality products at low prices following all the rules.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghos said this while responding to a question from journalists at the end of a special meeting organized to review the progress of the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) regarding labour rights at the ministry on Monday.
At that time, Labour and Employment secretary Ehsan-e-Elahi and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Mahbubul Alam were present.
When asked about the European Commission’s report on trade, the Commerce Secretary said, “We export products to about 200 countries. Of them, to some destinations our export volume is high. Our aim is to achieve compliance at competitive prices and meet customer requirements regarding export. Our workers, entrepreneurs work hard. We are exporting because we can provide quality products at low prices following all the rules.”
He said, “We will do whatever is necessary with our stakeholders so that our export market does not shrink. We will do it by looking at the capacity of our economy, the export situation and complying with the international requirements.”
Tapan Kanti Ghosh said, “We export USD 25 billion to the European Union, which is under duty free facility. And we export about USD 10 billion to the United States, but there is no duty-free facility. Bangladesh has to export with much higher duty in the world.
In response to a question whether a trade ban may be imposed,Tapan Kanti said, “I said last Thursday too, there is no situation to impose a trade ban. But the United States wants to improve the labor conditions of all countries. We value it. Our ongoing discussion, three plus five, i.e. five ambassadors and three secretaries have a platform, the meeting is supposed to be held this month. That’s why I sat today. How to report the progress that has been made so far.”
Recently, several amendments have been brought to the Bangladesh Labor Act. Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) Act-2010 has been amended. These reforms or changes in the law have been brought to fulfill the demands of the United States of America, the European Union or their demands.
The Commerce Secretary said, we have discussed, and this will be informed to them as well. At the same time, we discussed what more needs to be done or can be done on the way to becoming a developing country. We have told our stakeholders FBCCI, BGMEA, BKMEA that we have to prepare for it.
He said, “We have brought many reforms in the last 10 years. Since 2010, our labor law has already been reformed three times. Four times the Minimum Wages Board has declared the minimum wages. So we are constantly undergoing reforms. We are moving forward with our industrialization, working environment, and labor rights.”