| Dhaka, Monday, 05 June 2023

Foreign affairs adviser  Gowher Rizvi sasys "Dhaka couldn’t regain GSP for ‘compliance failure’"

Update : 2015-08-25 10:10:07
Foreign affairs adviser  Gowher Rizvi sasys

Foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister Gowher Rizvi on Monday denied that there was any connection between the state of Bangladesh-US relations and Washington’s exclusion of the country from GSP facility.

He said the generalised system of preferences (GSP), which ensures certain duty-free market access, has not been reinstated due to Bangladesh’s failure to comply with labour standards.
“We don’t even need to go to Washington (to regain GSP).. It will be restored as soon as the labour issues are addressed,” Gowher said while addressing a seminar at the National Defence College in Dhaka’s Mirpur.

He maintained that Dhaka would have to fulfil the pledges it made for improving conditions of the labourers by complying with labour laws and standards. He expressed his confidence that regaining GSP would not be a problem in that case.

The foreign affairs adviser also observed that despite all potential, Bangladesh could not attract foreign investment due to problems with governance and procedural barriers.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) jointly organised the seminar on “The Foreign Policy Imperatives with Special Emphasis on Bangladesh”.

NDC Commandant Lieutenant General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy delivered the inaugural address at the seminar moderated by NDC’s senior faculty member Air Vice Marshall Mahmud Hussain. Former foreign secretary and BEI president Farooq Sobhan also spoke.

Apart from personalities from the military and the civil society, a total of 76 participants of National Defence Course-2015, which include 25 senior military officials from 12 countries, attended the seminar.

General Sarwardy said Bangladesh has been following a foreign policy dictum, ‘friendship to all and malice towards none’ as outlined by father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In line with that Bangladesh has been playing a positive role in promoting international peace and stability while protecting its own legitimate rights, he added.

He mentioned that traditionally, the main objectives of foreign policy of Bangladesh have been self preservation, maintenance of territorial integrity, economic advancement and augmentation of national power.

Gowher said in today’s world, foreign policy cannot be separated from the domestic policy. He pointed out that officials of the commerce ministry, the Board of Investment and the foreign affairs ministry could not be blamed for any failure to bring FDI or to regain GSP.
He mentioned that a senior person of the commerce ministry asked him to go to Washington to lobby for GSP resumption.

“I said I don’t need to go to Washington if the issues are addressed,” he told the seminar.
Bangladesh lost GSP facility to the US market in 2013 and Washington ignored Bangladesh when a new list of 122 countries that are entitled to GSP has been published recently. Some within the government sharply reacted to Washington’s ‘neglect’ to Dhaka.

The foreign affairs adviser also referred to the interference by external actors into the country’s domestic affairs in the name of humanitarian issues. He explained that they could be criticised “but let’s not forget that we have domestic failure as well.”

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