Author Topic: REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR BERNICAT AT THE BGMEA FAREWELL LUNCH  (Read 2091 times)

mst15-8466

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 62
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR BERNICAT AT THE BGMEA FAREWELL LUNCH
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:14:25 PM »
Embassy of the United States of America
Public Affairs Section
Tel: 880-2-55662000
Fax: 880-2-9881677, 9885688
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: https://bd.usembassy.gov
                                                                            REMARKS BY
                                                           AMBASSADOR MARCIA BERNICAT AT
                               THE BANGLADESH GARMENTS MANUFACTURERS AND EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION (BGMEA)
                                                                         FAREWELL LUNCH

                                                      BGMEA Complex (12th Floor), Kawran Bazar
                                                                  Tuesday, September 25, 2018

 

Thank you for your hospitality in hosting this lunch.   I appreciate your essential role in managing the engine of Bangladesh’s economy, helping to lift hundreds of thousands of workers out of poverty, and making Bangladesh a key player in global trade.

I am thankful for the constructive discussions we have had during my tenure and the opportunity to take stock of the achievements and challenges we all face in our attempt to work together to ensure and enhance the prestige of the words, “Made in Bangladesh.”

Since 2013, with the help of Accord and Alliance, you have dramatically transformed your garment and apparel factories, making them among the safest in world.  I was here for much of this time and witnessed this transformation first-hand.  I realize that this was a difficult and expensive process, but it will continue to pay off for years to come – if you don’t become complacent.  Now the challenge is completing remediation of the factories under the National Action Plan and maintaining all the progress you have made in the Alliance and Accord factories.  I encourage you to draw on the expertise and experience that Alliance and Accord have to offer and to accept transitional arrangements – like the SMO (Safety Monitoring Organization) – to keep your hard-earned progress on track until the RCC (Remediation Coordination Center) is ready to assume full responsibility.

However, the next big hurdle for BGMEA is the issue of worker rights.  Unfortunately, progress here has lagged in recent years.  As I’ve emphasized many times, adhering to international labor standards is not just the right thing to do – it is the smart thing to do.  I encourage you to make necessary and relevant legislative changes as soon as possible. There is no upside to dragging this out.  Bringing your laws up to international standards – and implementing them – will improve Bangladesh’s international competitiveness and help it increase its market share in the worldwide garment industry.  Continuing to delay action – especially as consumers pay increasingly more attention to these labor issues in their buying decisions – threatens to undermine the country’s good reputation and increases the risk that international buyers will begin to look elsewhere.

Bangladesh has come so far in the 47 years since liberation and has so much potential to achieve even more.  As one of Bangladesh’s main development partners, we celebrated Bangladesh’s recent achievement of lower middle income status.  And we congratulate Bangladesh for already meeting all three UN criteria necessary for graduating from LDC status in 2024.  But continued economic development and growth depends on Bangladesh remaining vigilant and continuing to address issues like factory safety and labor rights.

I would like to thank BGMEA once again for the excellent partnership we have nurtured and shared over the past three years.  I wish you much success and luck in your business endeavors, and I look forward to many more years of close partnership between Bangladesh and the United States, to the mutual benefit of both countries.