Australia urged to continue duty benefits for 12 years


Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has called on Australia to extend the LDC graduation transition period for Bangladesh for 12 years with duty benefits, reports UNB.

"Given the fact that 83 per cent of Bangladesh's export earning depends on ready-made garments (RMG) alone, which employs 10 million people, including backward and forward linkage industries, and given the fact that Covid has caused severe financial distress to the industry which will take some time to recover, we request the development partners, including Australia to extend the LDC graduation transition time by 12 years," BGMEA president Faruque Hassan said.

The BGMEA chief also talked about the declining prices in the global apparel market which has posed a major challenge for the industry, especially at a time when the sector is struggling to turn around from the impacts of the pandemic.

He urged buyers and retailers to be more empathetic and follow rational pricing so that a secured global market could be built where workplace and jobs would be safer and sustainable.

Faruque delivered the keynote speech on "Apparel Industry – Competitiveness beyond Covid-19" recently at an international conference titled "Bangladesh at 50: From the test case to a development role model" held virtually.

Six renowned Australian universities – the University of Queensland, RMIT University, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, University of Southern Queensland, and Macquarie University organised the two-day conference during 7-8 October.

The keynote presentation session was chaired by professor Amrik Sohal from Monash University, and professor Shams Rahman from RMIT University was the discussant.

The presentation was attended by academics and experts from Australia, Bangladesh and globally.

Academics and researchers, including professor Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue, professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsay professor emeritus of economics at the University of Cambridge, professor Edward Barbier, university distinguished professor of economics at the Colorado State University, professor Carl Folke, director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and founder and chair of the Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre; and Professor Shunsuke Managi, distinguished professor and director of the Urban Institute at the Kyushu University took part in the international event.

In his presentation, the BGMEA president shared the impressive journey of Bangladesh's RMG industry – its pivotal role in uplifting the country's economy, generating various jobs, lifting millions of people out of poverty, and fostering female labour participation.

He also highlighted the big progress made by the apparel industry in the areas of workplace safety, sustainability and ethical manufacturing.

Also, his presentation focused on the challenges, opportunities and future priorities of Bangladesh's apparel industry.

"We have set our priorities to enhance capabilities, particularly in the area of diversification of our products and markets, investments in high-end textile sectors, especially non-cotton areas, innovation and value addition, and upgrading technologies."