BGMEA chief urges U.S. buyers to downplay factory auditing
Stressing the need for a smoother and more sustainable supply chain and garment sourcing, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Faruque Hassan urged U.S. buyers to minimize audits multiple factories in order to reduce costs for owners and to offer Bangladeshi clothing prices.
The president of BGMEA, currently visiting the United States to promote the export of garments from Bangladesh to the United States market, made the appeal during a roundtable conference in Washington on Friday.
The Embassy of Bangladesh hosted the roundtable to brief the U.S. government and relevant stakeholders on ongoing efforts to improve factory safety and worker well-being in the garment industry in Bangladesh and encourage more US imports of Bangladeshi ready-to-wear clothing.
Addressing the roundtable, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Shahidul Islam, said that the government has long undertaken various measures and initiatives to support the welfare of workers in the RMG industry.
The round table entitled “Seven years after the Rana Plaza: who does what? Senior US government officials attended, including Christopher Wilson, Deputy US Trade Representative for South Asia; William Jackson, USTR Textile Assistant; and Jennifer Larson, director for South and Central Asia at the US Department of State; Maureen Haggard, director for democracy, human rights and labor at the US Department of State; BGMEA Vice President Miran Ali, Ambassador Teresita Schaffer of McLarty Associates, representatives of the US-Bangladesh Business Council, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Walmart, Target, as well as senior officials from the Bangladeshi Embassy.
The event was hosted while BGMEA President Faruque Hassan is currently visiting the United States to promote the export of garments from Bangladesh to the United States market.
In his presentation, Faruque Hassan highlighted various initiatives taken by both the government of Bangladesh and its association, including the establishment of the RMG Sustainability Council and the formation of a Tripartite Advisory Council to maintain workplace safety and promote human rights. and the welfare of garment workers.
He briefed attendees on the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to the Bangladesh garment industry and how his association has supported workers during this difficult time, urged U.S. buyers to minimize multiple audits of factories to reduce costs for homeowners and highlighted the need for a smoother and more sustainable supply chain and apparel supply.
The president of BGMEA also acknowledged the generous contributions of the government through the stimulus plan in this regard.
In view of the increase in the minimum wage for workers and additional operating and production costs in Bangladesh, the president of BGMEA has called on American buyers to offer higher and fairer prices for Bangladeshi clothing.
He also urged the US government to consider a tariff reduction for Bangladeshi RMG products.
During the interactive session, USTR Assistant Christopher Wilson described the current US administration’s focus on the welfare of workers, both at home and abroad.
Citing the tariff issue as the prerogative of the US Congress, he stressed the need for constant and closer commitments between the two governments on labor and related issues.
Roundtable participants also discussed a range of other relevant issues, including empowering women workers in industry, Covid-19, and vaccine support for women garment workers.
Participants appreciated the roundtable as an effective and timely initiative to exchange information on the important issue of workers’ well-being which has both economic and human rights dimensions.
Ambassador Shahidul Islam concluded the roundtable by stressing the importance of having in-depth discussions and dialogues in all forums, including TICFA, to further promote trade and business between Bangladesh and the United States. .