On 26 October 2016, FTA organised the roundtable ‘Positioning Bangladesh as Asia’s Manufacturing Hub - What Are the Future Challenges in Compliance & Capacity Building for the Ready Made Garments (RMG) & Leather Sectors?’ in Dhaka attended by high level stakeholders, including the Bangladeshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC), Daily Star, a German company that specialises in international development called Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Save the Children, and FTA members.
Participants jointly agreed that Bangladesh plays an important role for the world’s RMG sector. The country has made significant progress in terms of compliance and maintains high export growth because of a huge young workforce and competitive wages.
Daniel Seidl, FTA Country Representative Bangladesh opened the roundtable saying: “FTA focuses on main sourcing markets and Bangladesh is one of the top sourcing markets for Asia. The aim of Bangladesh should not be to become only the biggest, but the best sourcing market and for that the industry need compliance standards and inclusion of capacity building.”
Nazma Akter, President Sammilito Garment Sramik Federation emphasised the importance of the relationship between the workers and the management and the need for capacity building for soft skills and leadership.
Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice President BGMEA informed attendees that Bangladeshi factories increasingly transform from semi-automatic to automatic using sophisticated machines to sustain fast growth of industry. However, there are increasing and urgent needs for skilled workers to perform jobs that cannot be replaced fully by technology.
The discussion with the audience touched on several issues such as the diversification of products, the need to move from low-end to high-end products, training for middle managers, the possibility for sourcing sustainable leather, women’s empowerment, and environmental protection. Concerns were also raised related to the standardisation of audits and discrimination against people with disabilities.
The next FTA roundtable is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of the next year.
For more information, please contact Daniel Seidl, FTA Country Representative Bangladesh.