Revive GSP, Khaleda urges US

Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia has urged the US to restore Bangladesh’s Generalised System of Preference (GSP) status offering tax-free trade benefits to a host of Bangladeshi export items.

Published : 29 June 2013, 05:49 AM
Updated : 29 June 2013, 06:13 AM

She has also requested the European Union not to take similar steps.

She made the appeal on Saturday while participating in a general discussion on the proposed budget.

Parliament proceedings resumed at 3:25pm with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

Khaleda denied she had written to the US government suggesting the suspension of Bangladesh’s GSP status.

The ruling Awami League has been claiming that the BNP chief had requested the US government to revoke the GSP facilities for Bangladesh.

Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu had said on Friday that in a recent article published in The Washington Post newspaer, Khaleda had energetically lobbied for the suspension of GSP status for Bangladeshi garment products in the USA market.

In this regard, Khaleda said in Parliament, “It is being said that I had written (to the US authorities) to cancel GSP facilities. But I didn’t send any letter.”

As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was also present in the House during Khaleda’s speech, raised a copy of the article written by Khaleda in the US paper, Khaleda said, “It’s not written by me.”

At the beginning of her speech, Khaleda said, “We don’t want to undermine anyone.”

Criticising the use of indecent language in parliamentary debates, she said: “We should thoroughly look into what the new generation is learning from the sort of language being used in Parliament.”

She blamed the government for the use of abusive and indecent language in Parliament.

Claiming that the Opposition is not being fairly treated, the former Prime Minister said, “The Leader of the House at the beginning of the ninth Parliament had pledged not to evaluate the Opposition by its number of MPs and make the Deputy Speaker from among the Opposition MPs. But the promise hasn’t been kept.”

Khaleda joined the budget session of Parliament on June 3 after staying away for 83 consecutive working days.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher