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US Memo on Worker Rights may target Bangladesh, it is feared

Industry 2023-11-30, 12:39am


US Department of State seal. US Government. Wikimedia Commons.

The Bangladesh Embassy in US believes that the Compilation of the US President’s Memorandum on Advancing Worker, Empowerment, Rights, and High Labour Standards globally though apparently meant for global application may target Bangladesh, says a dispatch sent to the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of Bangladesh.

Sending an initial report on the memorandum to the the senior secretary of the said Ministry, the Minister (Commerce) of the embassy, Md Selim Reza writes “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 memorandum has been launched by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The initial report from the Bangladesh Embassy says, labour issues in Bangladesh were specifically quoted by the Secretary of State and the Acting Secretary of Labour at the launching ceremony. As per the Memorandum the US mission would directly interact or deal with labour issues, the policy may encourage the interested US diplomats or missions to interfere in many internal or domestic issues. It seems that there are scopes in the policy to be imposed at individual, firm or state level, if they anticipate or believe that the labour rights are violated. 

The political context of the Memorandum has many reasons to be alarmed. Politics behind is what is said about labour rights in the Memorandum and the US will try to use the political purpose in different ways. 

Therefore the Memorandum is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure described in the memorandum in the excuse of labour issues. The Memorandum may also have an impact on Bangladesh’s apparel sector, and it should be taken into cognizance with priority by concerned stakeholders, the letter says.