US PRAISES PROGRESS IN BANGLADESH’S CLOTHING INDUSTRY REVAMP
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
President Barack Obama’s point person for South Asia sees “truly remarkable” progress made in overhauling Bangladesh’s clothing industry and says the Rana Plaza tragedy has resulted in “a real effort” of transformation.
Nisha Desai Biswal, speaking at a press briefing before leaving Dhaka on Saturday, said that the US remained committed to partnering with Bangladesh in the process.
She acknowledged the progress the sector had made in the wake of the worst-ever building collapse last year and said “if Bangladesh can overcome the challenges this will be a remarkable story of transformation”.
“…this will be a remarkable story, success borne out of tragedy.”
“We can say loss of life has not gone in vain rather it galvanised action in a way never before seen and that is the story we want to see unfold in Bangladesh”.
She, however, said still a lot remained to be done.
The US has suspended the GSP privilege some of the Bangladesh’s products were enjoying after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers.
As the next review would be held in December, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs was asked whether Bangladesh would get back the privilege.
“I don’t have any further information of that process at this time”, she said about the process initiated by the US Trade Representative (USTR).
She said in the RMG sector what “we have seen is truly remarkable.”
“The horror and tragedy has resulted in a real effort that has brought together government, industry labour and civil society, and international community’s sustained effort for transforming the sector.”
Biswal said that “over 200 unions have been registered, over 2000 factories have been inspected, and 30 factories have been shut that sent out message across the industry.”
She also mentioned that over 200 new inspectors had been hired in the process.
“…these are very important milestone, but clearly much hard work still needs to be done”.
“The regulatory agencies need to be stood up and capacitated to be able to sustain the work of inspections. Legislations that have been passed need to be implemented and legislations need to be processed.
“EPZs also must come under this legislation so that they meet the same standards of worker safety and worker rights,” she said.
Biswal came to Dhaka on Thursday evening after attending the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu.
NOVEMBER 30, 2014