The US government has said the GSP suspension represents an opportunity for Bangladesh to take action to improve labour and safety standards, and it will work with Bangladesh to restore its GSP privileges.
“…so the US will work with Bangladesh on the steps needed to potentially restore its GSP privileges, but that requires going through a process so that Bangladesh can make improvements,” Press Office Director of the US State Department Patrick Ventrell told a daily briefing in Washington.
He said the US will continue to work with Bangladesh so that they can take additional substantive actions to improve worker safety, according to the US State Department website.
Responding to a question, Patrick said, “I’m not sure if they’ve been in direct contact with us since this announcement, but successfully addressing these underlying labour rights and workplace safety issues will help ensure that there’s never again another fire or collapse like we saw in some of these horrific incidents.”
Responding to a question on what measures the US is taking along with the Bangladesh Government to address these issues, Patrick Ventrell said they need to see improvement in worker and safety rights, including the right to freely associate and engage in collective bargaining.
“….but that’s sort of the broad areas that we’re looking to cooperate with on the – with the Bangladeshis on – with labor concerns,” he said.
Responding to another question, Patrick Ventrell said, “Right. This is an opportunity that they need to take advantage of.”
He said the US wants to see the Bangladeshi economy succeed. “We think that there are important economic opportunities to lift more people out of poverty into the middle class. And there are great economic opportunities.”
On Thursday, the US suspended trade privileges for Bangladesh until the country improves workers’ safety conditions in the clothing industry. The move will bring tariffs back on some of Bangladesh’s exports to US markets under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).