BANGLADESH: Rising export sales clipped by safety issues
Bangladesh clothing producers who follow good labour standards and comply with good social responsibility practice have seen orders increase in recent months, according to a local buying intermediary group.
The Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association has estimated that orders in "compliant" factories have expanded by 15%-20% in recent months, although some face problems in handling fresh work.
This is because global brands and retailers have restricted sub-contracting and purchasing from factories running in shared buildings following a string of industrial accidents, most notably last April's Rana Plaza disaster.
Mohammed Aminul Islam, the association's secretary general, told just-style that safety awareness had increased even among companies that cannot follow buyers' requirements, but: "It's not possible to change things overnight."
"Our business has improved in [the] January-March quarter compared with the previous quarter [October-December] when we had political turmoil," Sirajul Islam Azad, deputy general manager for administration and human resources at a major exporter the Palmal Group, one of the biggest apparel exporters, told just-style.
Dr Ahsan H Mansur, executive director at Dhaka think-tank the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, predicts that the annual value of the country's garment exports would top US$30bn in the next two years.
"It's achievable. Buyers want to do business with Bangladesh as alternative markets are difficult to navigate," Mansur, a former senior executive of the International Monetary Fund, told just-style.
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