US okays bill on military garment purchase from Bangladesh
The US House of Representatives adopted a defence authorisation bill on June 14 for which the US military-branded garment importers will have to comply with the fire and building safety accord for Bangladesh.
The base retail stores owned by the Department of Defense will also have to comply with the accord that will improve conditions in Bangladesh garment factories.
"We thank Chairman Buck McKeon and Ranking Member Adam Smith of Armed Services Committee for working with us to ensure that it was considered by the full House of Representatives," Reps Jan Schakowsky and George Miller said in a statement.
"Military-branded garments made for sale at base retail stores operated by the Department of Defence should uphold our nation's core values and meet international labour standards."
A number of garments and documents with Marine insignias were found in the rubble of the November 2012 Bangla desh Tazreen Fashions fire that killed 112 workers, according to the statement.
Survivors have stated that the building's exits were locked, forcing many to jump from the third or fourth floor windows, they said.
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, an agency of the US Department of Defence, imported 124,000 pounds of garments last year from garment factories in Bangladesh, data indicates.
Garment worker safety in Bangladesh came to international attention after the April collapse of the Rana Plaza complex, which housed several garment factories. More than 1,100 workers died and more than 2,500 were injured making it one of the deadliest industrial tragedies in history.
So far, 50 international retail and fashion brands -- mostly based in Europe and Canada -- have signed onto the accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh.
While three US brands have signed onto the accord, most other major US companies like Wal-Mart and GAP have declined to participate in the international effort to improve building safety.