Bangladesh’s changing perception among US RMG buyers worrying: Mozena
Reported by: UNBconnect
Reported on: Jun 06, 2012 03:58 pm
Reported in: National
Dhaka, June 6 (UNB) – US Ambassador Dan Mozena on Wednesday voiced deep concern over the recent incidents in the country’s highest export earning sector and said these changes potentially threaten the economic wellbeing of Bangladesh.
He said the emerging developments in the United States, Bangladesh’s single-largest export destination for RMG, could coalesce into a perfect storm that could threaten Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Brand in America and could drive away key American buyers of Bangladeshi RMG.
“I believe, the changing perception of Bangladesh among American RMG buyers potentially threaten the economic wellbeing of this country, one about which I care most,” he told a meeting with BGMEA leaders at its conference room.
Addressing the meeting, the US envoy focused on various issues, including the murder of prominent labour activist Aminul Islam, major escalation in the erosion of labour rights in Bangladesh and continuing delay in concluding the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa).
He said the negative perceptions about Bangladesh that may be taking root in America are also growing in Europe. “The Clean Clothes Campaign that is spreading in Europe largely targets clothes made in Bangladesh.”
“Bangladesh is a truly-blessed country but each of these challenges facing by Bangladesh to become the Bengal Tiger is resolvable …no problem is insurmountable, given political will to resolve it,” the envoy said.
Replying to a question, Mozena said the issue of duty-free access to the US market is a political decision.
Asked whether signing Ticfa a precondition to getting duty-free access, he said, “Of course not.”
Sharing his concern over the recent incidents in the RMG sector, he said six buyers for major American brands took him aside and shared with him the increasing concern coming out of their respective headquarters about what they see happening in Bangladesh.
He said the American people were informed of the changes through negative stories in the media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and ABC News.
On political issue, Mozena said the major political parties should reach an early agreement on a mechanism for holding free, fair, credible and participatory elections to create political stability which, he thinks, would be major positive signals to the buyers of Bangladeshi RMG.
About the progress over Ticfa he said, “Ticfa is quite simple and has only a single action item – the establishment of a forum to identify and seek to resolve obstacles to increasing bilateral trade and investment – it has now been dragging on for four years.”
BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, second vice president M Siddiqur Rahman, vice president Faruque Hasan, BKMEA second vice president Mohammed Hatem and BGMEA directors spoke at the meeting.
BGMEA president said the broader engagement with the ILO (International labour Organization) in the coming days would help resolve many problems in the RMG sector.
“Workers are the major part of our progress. We’re serious to improve workers-owners relationship.”