Leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have been visiting the United States and Canada for about a month in search of new markets to take the country’s garment sector further. During the visit, there is a possibility of exporting readymade garments to the two countries at a higher rate, said BGMEA President Faruque Hassan.
He said the main purpose of the visit was to attract new buyers, create new country markets and brand the garment sector. At the same time, the tour will play a big role in creating the image of the local industry. Various meetings and seminars have been held with the buyers or brands during the visit. New hopes have also been raised about the return of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) from the United States.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan briefed reporters on various aspects of the recent visit at a press conference held at Hotel Westin in the capital’s Gulshan on Saturday (October 2nd).
The BGMEA president said the garment industry would also be able to turn around as the epidemic coronavirus situation improves. Where our exports rose to $34 billion in 2018, it dropped to 27 billion dollar the following year. Exports are rising again, orders are coming. However, the spread and transmission of new variants of the Corona has once again posed new challenges to the country’s garment industry. In this situation, the support of the government, the sincerity of the embassy and the cooperation of the media are needed to overcome the challenges of the epidemic. If that happens, Bangladesh will lead the world market in the garment sector.
The BGMEA President said the meeting was attended by representatives of US-Bangladesh Business Council, American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), Walmart and Target and senior officials of Bangladesh Embassy. The formation, various measures taken by the government after Rana Plaza, Establishment of RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) for the welfare of garment workers, formation of Tripritite Consultative Council to maintain workplace safety the global epidemic coronavirus situation, the working environment of the factory were highlighted. At the same time, US buyers are urged to pay a fair price for the garments.
The BGMEA President said, “Through sustainable development, modernization and efficiency enhancement of the industry, it is possible to increase our market share from 62.6 percent.” We are trying our best to harness the potential of this industry. We have re-launched our apparel diplomacy through a tour of North America. In the coming days we will be campaigning in more and more new markets. I will take part in meetings, seminars and fairs. I will highlight to the world the changes that have taken place in the domestic industry in the last few years. However, there is a lot to be done at the local level.
He said that due to Corona, exports have declined in the last two financial years, no significant investment has been made and no new jobs have been created. It would not have been possible to sustain the industry without the Prime Minister’s incentive package. As the Corona situation normalizes, our industry is also slowly turning around. Container fares have risen 200 to 300 times as global freight management has collapsed. We also have a number of challenges ahead of us, including falling product prices and some local problems. Even if these are resolved, the ready-made garment industry will be able to return to its previous position easily.
A number of demands were made at the press conference highlighting some of the problems. These demands include:
- Increase the number of loan repayment installments for workers’ salaries to 36 instead of 18.
- Abolish the obligation to have a bonded warehouse license for locally procured raw materials, yarn and accessories through local back-to-back debentures.
- Not to close the banking activities of other associate companies in case of default of a group of companies.
- Eliminate the complexity of including HS code and raw material details in bond licenses.
- Not to impose fines due to increase in the waste rate in production of net garments from yarn.
- Properly maintain the EDS machines installed at the airport for quick scanning of exports and bring the goods inside the canopy as soon as possible after unloading so that the products do not get wet in the rain.
- Approval for import and partial shipment of cotton, yarn, textiles and other raw materials in the textile sector under bond facility through other land ports including Benapole Port, especially Bhomra and Sona Masjid.