Visa restrictions won’t affect RMG exports: BGMEA
Apparel shipments from Bangladesh to the US will not be adversely affected by any visa restrictions imposed by the western nation, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
This is because the industry can continue operating without its officials having to go abroad thanks to the sophisticated communication systems available in the world today, said BGMEA President Faruque Hassan.
For example, the business kept running even when people could not go abroad due to global lockdowns amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he said during a press conference at the BGMEA office in Dhaka's Uttara.
The meet was called to inform the media about the current situation of the local apparel industry.
"So, I do not think the visa restrictions will have any bad impact on the shipment of apparels to the US," he added.
Hassan said that instead, the BGMEA is more concerned about helping its members fulfil the various requirements set by buyers for increasing trade.
For instance, a delegation of the United States Trade Representative visited the BGMEA office last week to ask if there has been progress regarding labour law reforms and adjusting the minimum wage for garment workers.
Hassan also said the US does not intend to harm the general public of Bangladesh by causing trouble for the country's garment industry, where a lot of people are employed.
"In the modern communicative world, people can run their business without having to go abroad," he added.
On Friday, the US embassy in Dhaka said the Department of State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
Hassan then said the recent media reports that 10 companies in Bangladesh laundered Tk 300 crore are baseless and untrue.
The report was made based on a press release issued by the Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate (CIID).
"Writing such an untrue and baseless report has tarnished the image of the sector and the country," he added.
Of the 10 companies, four are members of the BGMEA and two are members of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
With this backdrop, Hassan demanded the formation of a task force to investigate the veracity of this allegation.
"We strongly condemn this report," he said.
Hassan also said garment imports by two major markets -- North America and the EU -- from global sources, including Bangladesh, declined significantly during the January-July period this year.
For instance, overall garment imports by the US in terms of value declined by 22.28 percent year-on-year during the January-July period, the BGMEA said citing data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) of the US.
Similarly, garment exports from Bangladesh to the US declined by nearly 20 percent at the same time.
In terms of volume, global garment exports to the US declined by 28 percent during the first seven months of the current calendar year.
Likewise, shipments from Bangladesh fell by 29 percent year-on-year during the January-July period.
In the EU, the overall volume of garment imports declined by 7.5 percent year-on-year in the January-July period while it was 12 percent in terms of value, the BGMEA said.
"The export of garments declined to both major markets mainly due to high inflationary pressure, for which consumers bought less apparel items compared to other essentials," Hassan said.
Former BGMEA Presidents Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Abdus Salam Murshedy also spoke.