WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Thursday that the United States is suspending U.S. trade benefits for Bangladesh after two tragedies in the past year in the country's garment sector that have cost more than 1,200 lives, a congressional source said.
U.S. trade officials have said they expected Obama to announce a decision on the matter by the end of June. The U.S. Trade Representative's office did not have an immediate comment on whether an announcement would come Thursday.
Suspending Bangladesh from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences program would increase U.S. duties on an array of products the country exports to the United States, such as tobacco, sporting equipment, porcelain china, plastic products and a small amount of textile products.
But it would not directly affect Bangladesh's main export, clothing, since garments are not eligible for duty cuts under the GSP program, which was created in 1976 to help economic development in the world's poorest countries and to reduce import costs for U.S. companies. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Vicki Allen)