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Six RMG retailers call for lifting duty on safety equipment

3. Suravee GarmentsSix associations of US and Canadian retailers yesterday (9 April 2014) urged the Prime Minister to immediately withdraw the high duties on import of essential safety equipment that can undermine the current efforts to improve worker safety.

“Regrettably, the current high duties on Bangladeshi imports of key safety equipment can make what is already a costly but very necessary investment in remediation next to impossible,??? said a letter signed by the leaders of the associations.

To improve workplace safety, it is predicted that “tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars??? is needed per factory to improve the exits, install fire safe doors and sprinkler systems, restructure the factory and so on.

But the 61.09 percent duties and other taxes on fire doors and 31.07 percent on sprinkler systems would dissuade the factories from making the necessary investment and also drain away much needed capital from the common goal of improving worker safety, the letter said.

“We ask that your government takes immediate action to eliminate the duties paid on Bangladeshi imports of critical fire and building safety equipment. Making this change will contribute greatly towards improving worker safety in Bangladesh.???

 The associations — American Apparel and Footwear Association, Canadian Apparel Federation, National Retail Federation, Retail Council of Canada, Retail Industry Leaders Association and United States Fashion Industry Association — represent companies that account for over 90 percent of purchases of readymade garments in the two North American countries.

Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said he has already sent letters to the finance and commerce ministries and the National Board of Revenue seeking zero-duty on import of such equipment. “It is a need of the hour,??? he added.

Report: Refayet Ullah Mirdha
Source: Daily Star

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