Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

European Union considering trade action against Bangladesh after factory collapse

The European Union is to consider using its trade preference system to encourage Bangladesh to improve working conditions in the country's garment sector.

It comes in the wake of a factory collapse in the capital Dhaka which left more than 400 people dead in the worst industrial accident in Bangladesh.

The EU said it was "very concerned" about labour conditions in Bangladesh.

"The EU is presently considering appropriate action, including through the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)... in order to incentivise responsible management of supply chains involving developing countries," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said in a statement.

The Generalized System of Preferences provides duty and quota free access to Bangladeshi garment manufacturers to European markets.

The tragedy has prompted retailers in the UK and Canada, who were supplied by factories located within the collapsed Rana Plaza building, to establish new trade guidelines.

British High Street retailer Primark has also pledged to compensate to families of the victims.

Meanwhile, the building's owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, has been arrested and his assets frozen.  

He faces allegations of negligence, illegal construction and persuading workers to enter the building, a day after officials warned him of the appearance of cracks in the foundations.

Hundreds of people are still missing, with local media reporting that more than 100 families are still waiting to learn the fate of relatives who were working in the building last Wednesday.



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