EU considers trade action after Bangladesh factory collapse

Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:56pm EDT

A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, around 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Khurshed Rinku

A view of rescue workers attempting to find survivors from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, around 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 30, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Khurshed Rinku

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(Reuters) - The European Union voiced strong concern over labor conditions in Bangladesh after a building collapse there killed hundreds of factory workers, and said it was considering action to encourage improvements, including the use of its trade preference system.

The European Union is Bangladesh's largest trade partner and clothes made inside the building - an illegally built structure that toppled last week, killing at least 390 people - were produced for retailers in Europe and Canada.

"The EU is presently considering appropriate action, including through the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) - through which Bangladesh currently receives duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market under the ‘Everything But Arms' scheme - in order to incentivize responsible management of supply chains involving developing countries," said the statement, issued on Tuesday by EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton and trade commissioner Karel de Gucht.

(Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Paul Tait)

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