U.S. suspends trade benefits for Bangladesh over safety

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – President Barack Obama yesterday cut off longtime U.S. trade benefits for Bangladesh in a mostly symbolic response to dangerous conditions in that country’s garment industry that have cost more than 1,200 lives in the past year.

“I have determined that it is appropriate to suspend Bangladesh … because it is not taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to workers in the country,” Obama said in a statement. The U.S. sanction does not directly affect Bangladesh’s multi-billion-dollar clothing exports to the United States, which came under scrutiny after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in April that killed 1,129 people and the Tazreen factory fire in November that killed 112. But it could influence the European Union to take similar action, which would have a much bigger impact on Bangladesh and its garment sector.

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