Bangladesh Clothing Factories Face Squeeze If Safety Push Blocked | 4/24/2017 | Staff
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BERLIN/DHAKA (Reuters) – A group set up to improve safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 is warning global fashion firms that they will have to stop sourcing from some factories if the watchdog is forced to close next week.

The threat to the apparel sector, which accounts for the bulk of Bangladesh’s exports, comes at a precarious time for the country ahead of a bitterly contested election in December, when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking another term.

Consequences - Closure - Accord - Liaison - Office

“The consequences of a closure of the Accord liaison office in Bangladesh will be significant, immediate, and damaging,” said Joris Oldenziel, the deputy director of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

More than 200 firms – including the world’s top fashion retailers like Zara-owner Inditex and H&M – signed the legally-binding, five-year Accord after at least 1,100 people were killed when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed.

Premature - Accord - Workers - Circumstances - Brands

“The premature shut down of the Accord, leaving workers in unsafe circumstances, would jeopardize the brands’ ability to source from a safe industry,” Oldenziel told Reuters.

Low wages have helped Bangladesh build the world’s second-largest garment industry after China, with 4,000 factories employing about 4 million workers. The sector exports more than $30 billion worth of clothes a year, mainly to the United States and Europe.

Fashion - Group - Esprit - Garments - Bangladesh

Fashion group Esprit , which produces about a third of its garments in Bangladesh, has written to its factories in the country to say that the closure of the Accord’s office in Dhaka will undermine the reputation of the textile industry.

“Activism in key market countries could make the Bangladesh brand toxic to consumers in spite of the tremendous improvements that we have achieved in recent years,” Luis Gonzaga, Esprit’s head of global supply, said in the letter to suppliers.

Accord - Factories

The Accord has inspected more than 2,000 factories in...
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