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North American buyers to work together with Bangladesh ready-made garments

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 > 10:55:53
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(The Financial Express)

North American buyers on Sunday expressed their willingness to work together with the country's apparel makers to help address some existing challenges of the local garment industry aiming to boost their sourcing from Bangladesh, officials said.

They expressed the keenness at a meeting with leaders of the local apparel makers at a city hotel.

Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) arranged the meeting titled "RMG Meet UP" discussion on "Journey to the Next Milestone: Strategy for the RMG Sector."

The CanCham initiated the informal meeting to arrange quarterly basis between the country's apparel makers and its North American buyers to facilitate identify and address the industry challenges and thus boost the RMG export there

The inaugural meeting of "RMG Meet UP" was attended, among others, by Canadian high commissioner to Dhaka Benoit Pierre Laramee, local representatives of some leading RMG buyers in North American countries, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Md Atiqul Islam and CanCham president Masud Rahman.

"We will continue arranging the informal meeting on quarterly basis," Mr Masud Rahman said.

"It will help the country to enhance its RMG export and achieve the goal of raising the RMG export to $50 billion by 2021," he added.

At the post-RMG Meet UP briefing, Mr Laramee said that Bangladesh RMG sector improved in different compliance issues.

As per its policy for developing countries, he said, Canada would continue its various supports, including tax-free access, for Bangladesh to strengthen its RMG industry's efficiency, working condition, safety etc.

The participants laid stress on enhancing productivity and efficiency of Bangladesh's apparel industry and working together to achieve its target of enhancing the RMG export to $50 billion by 2021.

"The buyers said they will continue focusing on Bangladesh," Mr Atiqul Islam said at the briefing.

The participants also underlined the need for rethinking how to meet the challenge of falling price of apparel items by buyers against the increasing production cost here.

The issues they identified to address include infrastructure, power, eco-compliance, working condition, traffic jam, especially from Dhaka to nearest apparel belts like Gazipur, training to the mid-level management, product diversification and publicity of country's green and clean RMG factories.

"The buyers have requested to substitute the roads from Dhaka to Gazipur," Mr Islam said.

They also appreciated resilience of the country's people saying that the trade here is going on despite the long blockade and frequent hartals.

The buyers also expressed their concern about any further incident like Rana Plaza.

At the meeting, Mr Masud Rahman said, "CanCham likes to work hand in hand with BGMEA and BKMEA for the cause of RMG Sector."

"Bangladesh's export to USA totaled $5.4 billion in 2013, a 9 per cent increase from 2012 and up 158 per cent from 2003," he said.

"On the other hand, since January 2003, Canada allowed duty-free access to Bangladeshi products, due to which the country's exports, especially garment items, have been rising steadily. Of the total exports from Bangladesh to Canada, 96 per cent are apparel items," the CanCham president said.

Bangladesh exported goods worth $1.1 billion to Canada and imported goods worth $585.5 million in fiscal year 2013-14, he said.


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