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US may use labour policy for political purpose

by tbhad

The TBH Desk

The Bangladesh mission in Washington DC has formally alerted the government over possible impacts of the United States’ newly adopted labour policy, saying it may target Bangladesh.

“Though the ‘memorandum’ appears to be a global policy applicable for all countries, there are reasons to believe that Bangladesh may be one of the targets,” the Washington mission said in a letter.

It also noted that the policy is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure described in the policy in the excuse of labour issues. Besides, the memorandum may have an impact particularly on the apparel sector in Bangladesh.

Dated on 20 November, the letter was signed by the minister (commerce) at the Washington mission, Selim Reza, and addressed to the commerce ministry’s senior secretary at the secretariat in Dhaka.

The US president adopted the policy – Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally – on 16 November, in an effort to protect and promote worker rights at home and around the world

The Washington mission noted that the US secretary of state and acting secretary of labour particularly mentioned labour issues of Bangladesh while launching the new policy.

As per the memorandum, the US foreign mission would directly interact or deal with labour issues and it may encourage the interested US diplomats or missions to interfere in many internal issues.

“It seems that there are scopes for this policy to be imposed at individual, firm, or state level, if they anticipate or believe the labour rights are violated,” read the letter.

The Washington mission particularly noted that there are many reasons to be alarmed in the political context of the memorandum.

“Politics is behind what is said about labour rights in the memorandum, the US would try to use the political purpose in different ways. Therefore, the memorandum is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure as described in the memorandum in the excuse of labour issues,” it added.

Fearing an impact on the country’s apparel sector, the Washington mission suggested that the concerned stakeholders take the issue to cognizance with priority.

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