February 26, 2024

Bangladesh Minister Downplays US Sanctions Over Labour Issue

A Bangladesh minister has asserted that the efforts of the US and EU to obstruct or sanction Bangladesh’s apparel exports will prove futile.

“Business and politics are dissimilar spheres. The US and European countries will not do anything that jeopardises the Bangladesh garment industry,” Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said while addressing the press.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen earlier in November had also said that there would be no trouble if US imposed sanctions on Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh embassy in the US in a letter to the Commerce Ministry had informed that a new policy of the US on labour rights provides enough reasons for Bangladesh to be alarmed.

The letter further added that the cognisance should be taken of the issue on priority basis by all industry stakeholders.

In November, the US initiated a new policy which is the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally.

“Those who intimidate, attack or threaten unions, union leaders or labour rights defenders will be held accountable,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said while announcing the new policy.

“Among the steps the US would take are trade penalties, sanctions or visa restrictions,” Blinken had added.

The US had announced the policy in the middle of a violent protest by Bangladeshi garment workers seeking higher minimum wages to tackle high and surging inflation.

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