The Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh over concerns about safety problems and labor rights violations in the country's garment industry.
The administration has come under intense pressure to suspend the privileges in recent months-first after a factory fire there killed 112 workers last November and then after an eight-story factory building collapsed in April, killing 1,129 workers.
Trade experts said the administration's decision would be a substantial blow to Bangladesh's reputation and was likely to ratchet up pressure on its government to move more quickly to improve factory safety and end what Washington sees as widespread violations of workers' rights. Administration officials said they have offered Bangladesh a road map for steps it needed to take to have trade privileges restored.
In a letter to Congress on Thursday, President Obama said he was suspending the privileges, effective in 60 days, because Bangladesh was "not taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to workers in that country." ...