Progress in improving the structural safety of apparel supply chains in Bangladesh remains slow, with more than half of structural audits in the second quarter requiring action, inspection results show.

The latest Barometer report from compliance service provider AsiaInspection (AI) says 53.3% of all factories audited in the Bangladeshi ready-made garment sector during the period were ranked as 'Immediate Action Required' or 'Need Improvement.'

The results concur with a report by the ILO and IFC that one in four factories requires extensive retro-fitting remedial work.

In India and Pakistan, the data shows a two-fold increase in product inspection volumes over the last 12 months. As local apparel manufacturing powerhouses, both countries experienced double-digit year-on-year growth in export value for clothing and textile to the EU last year. But quality trends remain a worry, as failed inspections rate rose 26% in India and 42% in Pakistan year-to-date.

And in China, a 7% growth in inspection and audit volumes in the year-to-date is being driven by government plans to drive local consumption through enhanced product designs, and encouraging major domestic producers to meet international quality standards.

AI data shows that local production quality remains a struggle: inspections performed in China for local brands and buyers saw failure rates increase by 28% year-on-year.

Across industries, unethical labour practices remain among the most pressing issues discovered during ethical audits. In Q2 2016, 5.9% of audits failed in the 'child labor' section, an uptick from the Q1 figure of 4.6%.