US set to suspend Bangladesh trade privileges

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By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is expected to suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh because of concerns over labor rights and worker safety that intensified after hundreds died there in the global garment industry's worst accident.

Congressional aides say the Obama administration will make its announcement Thursday, the culmination of a yearslong review.

Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for the step. Bangladesh can export nearly 5,000 products duty-free to the U.S., its leading market, although that doesn't include the lucrative garment sector. The U.S. Trade Representative has said a decision was due by month's end.

A congressional staffer aware of the administration's thinking said the suspension will come with a roadmap to enable the restoration of suspended trade privileges if Bangladesh makes progress.

The staffer spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made.

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