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BGMEA calls for ethical sourcing, capacity diversification

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 3 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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BGMEA calls for ethical sourcing, capacity diversification

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The apex trade body of apparel exporters has called for diversifying capacity of apparel makers alongside ethical sourcing on the back of price slump of Bangladeshi apparel items in the US market.

Export oriented apparel sector is grappling with a production cost hike amid the corona crisis, but Bangladeshi apparel prices slipped by 8.04 percent during August 2020-July 2021 period, it argued.

“The price fall at this moment doesn’t is not a responsible act at all. The demand for an ethical sourcing has been louder with the barrage of order cancellation and discount  during the corona pandemic,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Faruque Hassan.

He was speaking at a press conference at a city hotel on Saturday after BGMEA leaders completed a month-long tour in the USA and Canada.

Apart from irresponsible sourcing, the BGMEA president also blamed overcapacity of local apparel manufacturers and weak price negotiation power shown to the foreign buyers.  “Please be more sincere in price calculation. At the same time, I would request you to diversify your capacity so that products are not confined to single type,” he called upon local apparel makers.

BGMEA leaders informed that during their visit sat with American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and put emphasis on ensuring fair price of Bangladeshi apparels and ethical sourcing.

Underscoring the need for stepping up apparel diplomacy, he said our potentials are huge, but tapping it will be tough, if we fail to properly present the sustainable changes made to the industry, and the positive stories.” 

Getting back the GSP facility in the US market is not going to be an easy task for Bangladesh as some political issues are involved with it beside other industry related compliance issues, Faruque Hassan said In reply to a question.

Af0ter two industrial disasters – Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, the US suspended GSP for Bangladesh in June 2013, citing serious shortcomings in labour rights and workplace safety.

However, the trade body is hopeful of getting GSP+ facility in the European Union market which is the destination of 60 percent apparel shipment from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh will be enjoying the present duty-free quota-free access to EU market under GSP facility until 2029. The facility of exporting Everything but Arms (EBA) will end after that.

Currently, the government and BGMEA are jointly working so that the EVA facility continues for 12 more years after its expiry.  

In response to a request of Bangladesh, EU has scrapped the condition of 7.4 percent import threshold in its 2024-2034 GSP regulation, which BGMEA sees as crossing a major hurdle in getting GSP plus facility.

During the visit, BGMEA leaders have requested NRBs to invest in non-cotton textile industries in Bangladesh to help it lower over dependency on cotton products as the share of non-cotton garment is overwhelmingly on the rise.

Citing some old and present challenges like hike in freight cost, BGMEA has called upon the government to raise the number of loan installments from 18 to 36 for the loans the government given to RMG industries as workers’ salaries and wages.