Published in the Financial Express on 17, May 2017
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Wednesday said global buyers had not raised garment prices, although entrepreneurs invested significantly in fixing factory flaws in the post-Rana period.
“But they (buyers) are now bargaining to lower the product prices instead,” he said.
He made the remarks while inaugurating ‘Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF)’ and ‘Bangladesh Denim Expo’ organised by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) in the city’s International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB).
Referring to the country’s target of earning US$37 billion from exports this year, the minister said due to volatile global economy, erosion of Euro value, and global downturn in garment sales, exporters might miss this year’s shipment target.
Still, he expressed the hope that it will not come down under $36 billion.
Tofail said the government was considering bringing an amendment to the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority Act, 1980 considering the welfare of workers.
He also called upon all involved with the RMG industry to work together for a sustainable future.
Speaking on the occasion, former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Atiqul Islam said the government had amended the labour law within 76 days of Rana Plaza collapse and formed a labour welfare fund to support the labour force.
He underscored the need for increasing apparel price, which is crucial to the sector’s sustainable business.
“We welcome Accord, we welcome Alliance … at the same time, we urge the buyers to raise prices of Bangladeshi garment product,” he added.
Moderated by Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group, the inaugural session of the two-day event was also attended by German Ambassador to Bangladesh Thomas Prinz, French Ambassador Sophie Aubert, Dutch Ambassador Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, HSBC Bangladesh CEO Francois DE Maricourt, and H&M regional head for Bangladesh and Pakistan Roger Hubert.
The two-day ‘Bangladesh Denim Expo’, 6th of its kind, also kicked off on the same venue with the theme of ‘Denim Networks’ to highlight the importance of understanding the relationships of the denim industry.
This year, 58 exhibitors from 12 countries took part in the expo to display their state-of-the-art products.
Apart from the host Bangladesh, other participating countries are China, Germany, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, San Marina, Spain, and Turkey.