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BGMEA President Faruque Hassan delivered a keynote speech on "Apparel Industry- Competitiveness beyond COVID-19" at an International Webinar Conference titled "Bangladesh at 50: From the test case to a development role model".
Six renowned Australian universities -- University of Queensland, RMIT University, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, University of Southern Queensland, and Macquarie University organized the two-day conference on October 7-8.
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.
Eminent academics and researchers including Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD); Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsay Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge; Professor Edward Barbier, University Distinguished Professor of Economics, 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, Stockholm University; and Professor Shunsuke Managi, Distinguished Professor & Director of Urban Institute at the Kyushu University, Japan took part in the international event.
In his presentation, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan 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 tremendous progress made by the RMG industry in the areas of workplace safety, sustainability and ethical manufacturing. 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.”
The BGMEA President called on the Government of Australia to extend LDC graduation transition period for Bangladesh for smoother transition.
“Given the fact that 83% of Bangladesh’s export earning depends on the 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.”
Faruque Hassan also talked about the declining price trend 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 impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He urged buyers and retailers to be more empathetic and rational in pricing so that a secured global market could be built where workplace and jobs would be safer and sustainable.