EU won’t scrap GSP facility at this stage: Hanna

The European Union has ruled out the possibility of scrapping Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladesh following the country’s January 5 parliamentary polls.”The GSP facility will continue and we are not considering any trade measure at this stage,” European Union (EU) Ambassador William Hanna said yesterday while talking to the reporters at his office in Dhaka.His comments came following a number of media reports that the EU might suspend GSP facility for Bangladesh following the polls boycott by BNP.Bangladesh currently enjoys most favourable condition on trade, as no taxes or tariffs is imposed on the country’s goods and products entering the 28-nations in the block .Following the elections, the European Union released a statement by Catherine Ashton, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs. Last week, the European Parliament passed a resolution on political development in Bangladesh.”Neither document mentioned the question of trade. So we are not considering any change to the GSP at the moment,” Hanna added.Hanna said the GSP is important for Bangladesh as well as for Europe. We want to continue to source from Bangladesh. Our companies are interested in continuing to invest. I think it is everybody’s interests.”When asked about whether the EU is supporting the government following the elections where the block did not send observers, he said, “I do not think it is a question of supporting the government”.”We have a long relationship with Bangladesh and we have been involved in assisting its development for a long while,” mentioned the EU envoy. He further said that trade relation has become a key one over the decades. But the bedrock, the basis on which we work, is support for democracy and human rights. On those questions, we have expressed our concerns and we hope that there will be improvement in those areas.”

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