FTA has issued a letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, to urge the country to cooperate with international bodies such as the European Union and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in tackling outstanding labour issues.
Uncertainty among companies has been rising due to the pressure from the EU, ILO and other stakeholders regarding the lack of respect of fundamental human and labour rights in Bangladesh, notably the right of freedom of association.
In June, the European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing concerns for the lack of progress in a number of areas of the Sustainability Compact in Bangladesh. The EU has put increasingly pressure on Bangladesh to do more to align national laws and practice with ILO recommendations. The EU also warned that Bangladesh might risk losing the trade preferences granted under the EU’s Everything But Arms initiative if it did not address the standing issues.
FTA will maintain its engagement in the country, as well as the close consultations with the cabinet of the Prime Minister, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). An FTA Round Table is also scheduled for mid-November 2017 which will look at the labour issues in the country.
FTA will continue to monitor the situation closely, and has offered its support to both the EU and Bangladesh in facilitating dialogue on the outstanding issues, with the hope of arriving to a positive result for all actors involved.