Concerned about US sanctions, but business not yet affected: President of BGMEA
Faruque Hassan, the chairman of BGMEA, said on Wednesday that recent US sanctions against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and its senior officials were cause for concern, but garment companies had suffered no consequences .
Responding to journalists ‘questions during a dialogue hosted by the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) in Bijoynagar, the capital, he said: “We are working with them and keeping in touch with buyers. Our buyers have told us about this issue as well. None of our orders have been canceled, although some may have been delayed due to Omicron. “
Claiming that the United States of America is a big market, the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the only concern was what the United States wanted to do next. “But I don’t think there will be any sanctions against our company.”
The United States recently sanctioned a number of former senior RAB officials and the organization for alleged human rights violations.
The Bangladeshi government has spoken out on the issue, with the foreign minister calling on the US secretary of state to reconsider the sanctions earlier this year.
Speaking during the ERF dialogue, Faruque also touched on the future of the RMG industry and the challenges facing the industry.
At the same time, he also expressed hope that political parties would help ensure that factories continue to operate in the next election.
Regarding the new Omicron variant, the president of BGMEA hoped that the current export trend – with Bangladesh exporting a record $ 4 billion of clothing items in December – would continue until at least April.
When asked if Bangladesh has the capacity to increase its exports by producing goods worth $ 7-8 billion, the president of BGMEA said that at present the country did not have the capacity to do so.
“We are however working to increase the capacity of the factories. Although there are no night shifts in the clothing sector, some factories have started it,” he said.
Responding to a question about allegations by factory owners trying to suppress unions, Faruque said some factory owners have expressed interest in unions. He pointed out, however, that some states in the United States had banned unions.
The president of BGMEA also pointed out that cotton and yarn being the main raw materials of garments in Bangladesh, the country may consider becoming a yarn exporter in the future.
He said, however, that local spinners had recently raised the price of yarn to make additional profits, but that these high prices could discourage importers.
Calling for a gradual devaluation of the currency, he said: “Our currency is not yet favorable for exports.”
ERF vice-president Shafiqul Alam chaired the function, while its general secretary SM Rashidul Islam was the moderator. Senior members of the organization were also present.