US Ambassador to Dhaka Dan W Mozena has called the brands and buyers to keep up their unprecedented commitment of support to transform Bangladesh’s apparel sector.
Mozena said, “Over the next three and a half years, you can do much to help Bangladesh set the global standard for the apparel industry,” adding that Bangladesh endeavours to bring the sector to standard for fire safety, factory structural soundness and respect for workers’ rights.
The US envoy made the call while addressing a function ‘American Apparel and Footwear Association Summit Training Conference: Product Safety, Worker Safety, and Supply Chain Compliance’ at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the city on Tuesday.
Vice President of AAFA (American Apparel and Footwear Association) Nate Herman and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President M Atiqul Islam also spoke on the occasion.
Mozena also urged the government of Bangladesh to exercise strong, powerful, effective, and positive leadership to transform the apparel industry.
“The government has already done much with achievements that no one of us could have foreseen 18 months ago in the wake of Rana Plaza. In my view, the government should now complete the task,” he said.
Mozena said the government should ensure that all factories are inspected to ensure compliance with safety standards and create mediation and other mechanisms to resolve in real time the inevitable disputes that will arise between management and workers. “I believe the government can succeed on each of these fronts,” he added.
Additionally, the US diplomat said, “The government should address the infrastructural and governance challenges that I cited earlier in my remarks. I believe that if there is sufficient will, the government can overcome these challenges as well.”
Regarding Bangladesh’s target to reach US$ 50 billion export, he said if the country now undertakes to address its infrastructure and governance challenges, then this great nation could export even more to the global marketplace.
“Mine is a grand vision, a wondrous vision, a beautiful vision, a vision that I believe could be and should be the reality of Bangladesh. I hope this vision will be Bangladesh’s new reality,” he added.
He called on BGMEA and BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association) to work with their members to ensure that each of them and 100 percent of the factories are part of the transformation of the apparel industry.
“All factories must fulfill agreed safety and labour standards. No owner can be allowed to jeopardise the future of the apparel sector by refusing to provide safe working conditions or by abusing workers’ rights,” he said.
He hoped that the owners, workers, brands and government with the support of friends and partners like America, the ILO and others, are charting the course to realise the vision of a grandly successful apparel industry.