The European Union wants Bangladesh to address outstanding labor issues including freedom of association in export processing zones (EPZs). The EU already grants Everything But Arms (EBA) privileges to Bangladesh. The EU is working with Bangladesh on GSP Plus issues.
Bangladesh expects to face enormous challenges in adjusting to the fourth industrial revolution and robotics technologies. Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade garments in the world. About 58 per cent of Bangladesh’s garment exports go to EU countries. Bangladesh wants to graduate from LDC status by 2024. But once this happens it may lose the EBA facilities. The country has urged the EU to continue providing GSP Plus trade facilities for Bangladesh. One challenge Bangladesh faces is that the export basket is restricted to garments. Bangladesh wants EU foreign direct investment and technologies in other promising export sectors such as agro-processing, shipbuilding, information and communication technology and pharmaceuticals in order to move up the value chain and enable a win-win benefit. The EU has also been invited to invest in special economic zones in Bangladesh. Both are joining hands to address impediments to more FDI from EU countries to Bangladesh. Several rounds of dialogue have resolved some outstanding issues.