BD needs more labor rights to regain trade benefits

Bangladesh must do more to support workers’ rights and fight unfair labor practices before officials consider restoring U.S. trade benefits, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Friday.

RMG Rana PlazaThe United States revoked trade benefits for Bangladesh in mid-2013 after a garment factory collapse and a factory fire killed more than 1,200 people.

An administration review found that, although more than 2,000 safety reviews of factories had been carried out in the last year, several hundred more still had to be done.

“We also urge the government to accelerate its efforts to ensure workers’ rights and to take measures to address continuing reports of harassment of and violence against labor activists who are attempting to exercise their rights,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said.

Suspending trade benefits did not directly hit Bangladesh’s multi-billion-dollar clothing exports, but affected exports of other goods, including tobacco and sports equipment.

– Reuters