Bangladesh needs more labour rights to regain trade benefits: US

Bangladesh needs more labour rights to regain trade benefits: US

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

The 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 labour activists who are attempting to exercise their rights,” US 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.

The US government suspended the trade privileges on June 27, 2013 citing poor labour rights and bad working conditions at factories in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh already amended the Labour Law of 2006 on July 15 on the same year, as part of a series of steps the government has taken in line with the action plans recommended by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the reinstatement of Bangladesh’s Generalised System of Preferences status.


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