Bangladesh
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BGMEA demands fair prices, ethical sourcing from US brands

As per data from Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) the USA’s import from Bangladesh dropped by 20 percent in dollar value and 29.03 percent in square meter in January-July 2023. 

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) today sought fair prices and demanded ethical sourcing of garments from the US retailers and brands as the new wages for the workers are expected to be implemented from December this year.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan made the demand in a letter to Stephen Lamar, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the platform for the American retailers and brands, on September 28.

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"Considering the standard and cost of living of our workers, and the inflation, we also expect fair price and ethical sourcing from our valued buyers," Hassan said in the letter.

The BGMEA chief urged the AAFA to  pursue the US brands and retailers for rational price for the orders for Items to be produced from December 2023 and onward.

"This is important for a smoother transition to a new wage scale. May you kindly share this letter to your members, please," Hassan said.

He said the BGMEA is working to improve the skill and efficiency level of the workers, and such initiatives should have broader collaboration.

"As we commit ourselves to continuously delivering the better, we are leaving no stone unturned to optimise the value of our spending, with an uncompromising stance on ethical and responsible business. Your continued support will be crucial," he said.

Recently, the AAFA wrote a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressing concern about the labour rights situation in Bangladesh following the killing of labour leader Shahidul Islam in June this year. 

The suspects of the Shahidul Islam have been arrested by the police, the BGMEA chief mentioned.

Hassan said the Bangladesh labour law was amended in 2013 and 2018. 

Further amendment to the labour law is in the final stage after a rigorous tripartite consultation, he said. 

As per data from Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) the USA's import from Bangladesh dropped by 20 percent in dollar value and 29.03 percent in square meter in January-July 2023. 

"We understand the stress of managing supply chain at your end, we, the manufacturers, are also in a complete 'nightmare situation' to manage our capacities, supply chain, planning and forecasting. Yet, we have been quite successfully able to retain growth in our export, so far," the letter said.

The Minimum Wage Board for the garment workers is working to review the current minimum wages. The board has already done several meetings and currently consulting with different stakeholders, said Hassan.

"They are visiting factories and discussing with workers and owners. I believe before the end of this year a new minimum wage will be declared and there will be a rational adjustment, if we look at the trend of previous reviews, as well as the aggregate inflation in past five years."