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DHAKA – The European Union has told Bangladesh its garment factories need to ensure fair practice and comply with International Labour Organisation standards if the country wants to enjoy continued free trade access to the EU following graduation to Developing Country status in 2024. Bangladesh will lose its current trade privilege of zero-duty exports under the EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme in 2024. It will then have a three-year grace period, following which it will finally lose its Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) in 2027. After this, Bangladesh garment exporters face nearly 12.50 per cent duty on exports to the EU – a huge hike for factories already working on small margins.

However, Bangladesh can continue to export duty-free if it can manage EU’s GSP Plus status by meeting conditions including core conventions of the United Nations, including practising good governance, following international standards on labour and human rights and ensuring protection of environment.

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