Gap will be the first US retailer to enter Burma/Myanmar

Gap will be the first US retailer to enter Burma/Myanmar

Apparel giant Gap Inc has announced plans to begin sourcing clothing from Burma/Myanmar, in a move it says makes it the first US retailer to enter the market.

The company will manufacture products from two unnamed factories in Rangoon as part of a partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Gap said its decision to source garments from Burma was taken after "a rigorous due diligence process", which saw the company engaging extensively with US government officials, industry and union representatives and international and local NGOs in Burma in order to better understand the opportunities and challenges of doing business in the country.

"This is a historic moment for Burma and we are committed to working with the US government and local government alongside local and international NGOs, to help create the economic opportunities that the citizens of Burma so richly deserve," said Wilma Wallace, VP of global responsibility, business and human rights for Gap.

"By entering Burma, we hope to help accelerate economic and social growth in the country, and build on our track record of improving working conditions and building local capacity in garment factories around the world."

The retailer says the factories from which it is sourcing are being audited "by a well-respected non-governmental organisation" to ensure that internationally recognised human rights and labour standards are upheld.

The company will also partner with CARE International in Burma to deliver its women's advancement programme, PACE (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement), in the factories in which it does business by the end of this year, and in select communities where CARE is involved.

Gap says the partnership will help lay the foundation for it to provide growth and economic opportunities for women in the country.

The clothing produced at the factories in Burma is expected to be ready for sale in the US by this summer.