Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan has urged the US brands and retailers to be more rational in pricing in order to build a secured global market where workplace and jobs will be safer and more sustainable.
He urged the US government to consider reducing duty on apparel products from Bangladesh.
The BGMEA President called on US businessmen and non-resident Bangladeshis living in the US to explore investment opportunities in textile industries in Bangladesh, particularly in the non-cotton segment.
He made the call while addressing a roundtable titled "Seven years after Rana Plaza: Who is doing what?" organised by the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC recently, said a BGMEA media release.
“Our factories are increasingly investing money for safety and sustainability. Besides, production cost has gone up by more than 30% in last five years. On the contrary, the price of our apparel is declining every year," said the BGMEA chief.
While it is a fact that in a free market economy price cannot be dictated, but nobody can justify a lower price to produce socially fair goods, he said.
“It is the collaboration and partnership between brands and our suppliers that has helped us to achieve tremendous growth so far and future cooperation and partnership will help us to maintain this,” Faruque Hassan added.
In his address at the roundtable Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States M Shahidul Islam highlighted the measures and initiatives taken by the government of Bangladesh to support the RMG industry in ensuring workplace safety and the welfare of garment workers in Bangladesh.
Senior US government officials including Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia; William Jackson, Assistant USTR for Textiles, and Jennifer Larson, Director for South and Central Asia of the US Department of State; Maureen Haggard, Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the US Department of State; former Bangladeshi diplomat Farooq Sobhan, BGMEA Vice President Miran Ali, Ambassador Teresita Schaffer from the McLarty Associates, representatives of US-Bangladesh Business Council, American Apparel and Footwear Association, Walmart, Target, as well as senior officials of the Bangladesh Embassy participated in the roundtable.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan briefed the US Government and relevant stakeholders about how the readymade garment industry of Bangladesh has undergone massive transformation over the last few years to become one of the safest industries in the world and have the highest number of green garment factories across the globe.
He apprised the participants of the steps and measures taken by the industry to ensure workers’ wellbeing.
The BGMEA chief stressed the need for a unified code of conduct as multiple audits are not only waste of time and money, but also the audit fatigue makes compliance difficult for enterprises.