Burnley and Pendle Bangladesh Community Council recently held an event organised to discuss the European Union's trade relations with Bangladesh and the aim of the country being awarded GSP Plus status in 2020.
The event, attended by more than 150 British Bangladeshis, was organised by Mozaquir Ali who is President of the Council, bringing together key people to discuss the way forward and how to achieve this Generalised Scheme of Preferences, or GSP, consessionary trade status which enables the designated developing country's exporters to payless or no duties on their exports to EU countries.
Key guests at the event included Sajjad who had recently returned from a visit to Bangladesh, representing the European Parliament, the Assistant Bangladeshi High Commissioner, Ms. Ferdousi Shahriar who is based in Manchester and Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson.
Speaking at the event Sajjad said:
"In my 11 years of working in the European Parliament and the international arena, I say with a great sense of pride that countries like India Pakistan and Bangladesh, could not find a better friend than the United Kingdom.
"I will do whatever I can to assist Bangladesh and ensure GSP plus status is achieved by 2020"
Speaking in response Ms Shahriar thanked Sajjad Karim for his visit to Bangladesh saying that she was confident that as Chair of the European Parliament's monitoring group of South Asia, he is contributing to the development of countries like Bangladesh through ensuring greater market access to the EU.
"Bangladesh values her friendship with the EU as well as UK. EU is not only the largest development partner of Bangladesh; it is also the most important trading partner of the country as 57% of the country’s exports are destined to the 28 country block."
Commenting on the event Mozaquir Ali said that the reports presented to the meeting had been very well received and he was confident that GSP Plus status will be attained, bringing great economic benefits to Bangladesh.
Note: After 7 years of negotiations Pakistan was granted GSP Plus status in January 2014. This was delivered with active support from Sajjad leading in the European Parliament and support from our UK Government directly through Prime Minister David Cameron. It is estimated that the deal is worth up to €2billion in increased trade.