US releases plan Bangladesh can use to regain trade benefits

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The U.S. Trade Representative’s office, Department of State and Department of Labor said that Bangladesh could regain its GSP benefits if it adhered to the action plan.

“At the time of the announcement, the administration provided the Government of Bangladesh with an action plan which, if implemented, could provide a basis for the President to consider the reinstatement of GSP trade benefits,” the announcement states. “Today, the administration is making this action plan public as a means to reinforce and support the efforts of all international stakeholders to promote improved worker rights and worker safety in Bangladesh.”

The plan includes steps to improve fire and building safety, to give greater freedom to unionize, to increase rights in special export processing zones and to improve conditions for workers in the shrimp industry.

The U.S. said it is also encouraging retailers to pressure Bangladesh to improve conditions.

“In addition to these complementary, government-to-government efforts, the administration recognizes the importance of efforts by retailers and brands to ensure that the factories from which they source are compliant with all fire and safety standards in Bangladesh. We urge the retailers and brands to take steps needed to help advance changes in the Bangladeshi garment sector and to work together and with other stakeholders to ensure that their efforts are coordinated and sustained,” the U.S. said.