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Retailers pledge to continue business with Bangladesh suppliers

1. Babylon GarmentsWork orders are flowing in from international garment retailers as steady economic activities are being restored after several spells of political violence, industry insiders said yesterday.

“Retailers are now placing a lot of orders. The situation is good now. I urge the government to maintain this stable situation to get more orders,??? Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told The Daily Star.

As a prerequisite to continued work orders, retailers demanded a stable political scene, at a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, leaders of BGMEA and other stakeholders at Westin Dhaka yesterday.

“Another reason for holding the meeting was to convey a message to retailers that Bangladesh is back in business after the political upheaval,??? Islam added.

Buyers are regaining confidence after the general elections on January 5 and they have a long-term business plan in Bangladesh, an official of Inditex, a Spanish clothing retail giant, said asking not to be named. “We want a stable political situation.???

“There was a ban on travelling to Bangladesh on our company officials in Spain. The ban has been withdrawn by our headquarters last month.???

“A good number of high-ups of the company are scheduled to visit Bangladesh next month with a lot of work orders. If a stable economic situation prevails, we will not face any major crisis and Bangladesh will remain a lucrative destination for price competitiveness,??? the official said.

Retailers had faced uncertainty with their orders in the face of unrest when the country witnessed hartals and blockades for 74 days in 2013 and 11 days in January and February.

Garment makers could not transport goods to Chittagong Port from their factories due to a volatile political situation across the country.

As a result, international retailers cut their travel plans to Bangladesh and in some cases, called the garment makers to their headquarters in Europe and the US for business meetings.

The commerce minister urged retailers to increase the prices of garment items as workers’ wages was increased 77 percent from December last year.

The minister suggested the garment manufacturers implement the agreements inked with the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and North American Alliance for improving safety standards and workers’ rights in the factories.

“You will have to work to overcome the image crisis created from the volatile political situation. Bangladesh is back in business now after the elections.???

Report: Refayet Ullah Mirdha
Source: Daily Star

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