EU Ambassador Assures Rebranding of Bangladesh through Knitwear Industry.

inaugurated Ceremony
Rensje Teerink, EU ambassador and head of delegation to Bangladesh and Mansoor Ahmed, first VP of BKMEA, pose during a meeting at the association's office in Dhaka.

05 February, 2018, 2:00 pm, a meeting was held between H.E. Rensje Teerink, honourable ambassador and head of EU delegation to Bangladesh and BKMEA at BKMEA Dhaka Office, Banglamotor. The meeting started with the title “Strengthening bilateral trade relation between Bangladesh and European Union”. Mr. Mansoor Ahmed, 1st Vice President, BKMEA chaired the meeting where 2nd Vice President and other Directors of BKMEA were also present. Ms. Rensje Teerink was accompanied by Mr. Konstantino Vardakis, Minister of Counselor, Head of political, Economic, Trade, Press and Information Section of the Embassy.

On behalf of BKMEA President Mr. Mansoor Ahmed praised the contribution of EU and added that the RMG sector of Bangladesh, especially the Knitwear sector, has arrived in this enviable position only because of the trade generosity of European Union (EU). Without the trade facilitation of EU like EBA and other DFQF, it would have been a difficult task for the Bangladesh’s RMG exporters to ensure sustainable export growth annually as Bangladesh enjoys now.

The following points were raised by BKMEA before the Ambassador:

We have been succeeded in alleviating poverty, structuring socio-economic pillars, establishing women rights and empowering women financially with stepping towards economic liberalizations and fulfilling MDGs and striving for achieving SDGs through the essential dynamics of export and imports of Bangladesh knitwear sector.  EU has always been our role model and your GSP scheme has enabled us to change that socio-economic dynamics by directly contributing to Bangladesh economy.
Bangladesh RMG industry, which is solely dependent on huge skill labor forces, has directly employed about 4.5 million workforces in this sector. It is worth to mention that about 72% of those labor forces are women. This huge contribution of women employment is the sign of financial empowerment and economic liberty and their wellbeing. BKMEA envisages that ,by 2025, the RMG sector will employ about 6 million more labor forces which will play a vital role in establishing women empowerment and development of socio-economic indicators of the country. Therefore, the assistance and cooperation of the EU is undoubtedly imperative to materialize this vision.
World has witnessed and experienced the industrial revolution, renaissance and development of green industrial formation from the Europe. With the influence of green industrial revolution of Europe, Bangladesh knitwear sector has started their “Go Green” approach to green the knitwear industry. Bangladesh RMG industry is fully a model industry now and could be an example to global exposures. With the ‘go green’ approach, the sector has ensured world class green industries where world’s 7 out of 10 green industries are in Bangladesh and 4 of them are members of BKMEA. BKMEA believes that EU will consider present condition of the industry and make an advocacy to their member countries to expand the imports of knitwear products from Bangladesh, which has shrunk a little bit recently.
Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given her absolute best support for the development of our knitwear industry. It is her directives that this sector enjoy some incentives and other benefits for the better growth of the industry. At the same time, Ministry of Finance as well as Bangladesh Bank have also helped us in various ways to build the capacity of the industry and form the ‘go green’ approach. Bangladesh knitwear  industry has had to invest a huge amount to establish the structural necessities of green industry and fulfilled the CAPs given by Accord and Alliance. This huge investment has made the knitwear industry more sustainable than ever before
Being the sole representative organization of Bangladesh knitwear industry, BKMEA has a history to work with the government and international organizations namely EU, ILO, giz, UNIDO, AFD, JICA, WFP and others. Through these development partners of Bangladesh, BKMEA has handled various projects to ensure a sustainable production in the knitwear sector. These are mainly known as social compliance, productivity improvement of workers, fire & safety awareness, market research, EOSH, women health and nutrition, maternal health, lactating mother projects etc. BKMEA requests EU to commend Bangladesh government to consider the project handling capacity of BKMEA for expediting any project/s under EU-Bangladesh framework.
The EU has suggested and encouraged us to invest in the infrastructural developments of the industry. We have responded positively. Now, after this huge investment, Bangladesh knitwear producers are experiencing much higher production cost than before and this has thrown them into a difficult position and sustaining their businesses have also been cumbersome. So, BKMEA would like to request to the EU to be sympathetic towards Bangladesh by encouraging its member countries to import more knitwear products from Bangladesh.
Most importantly, right at this moment, BKMEA’s overarching appeal to EU is to extend the existing GSP facilities at least for twelve more years for Bangladesh aligning with the SDG fulfilling time frame of 2030. Even in a changed dynamics-if Bangladesh is graduated into middle-income country by 2024 – we still request EU to continue this facility in different structure and fashion, if necessary and if EU likes, for the better interest and growth of the Bangladesh Knitwear sector.
The EU as the leading market destination of Bangladesh. So, considering the significance and the market size of the EU, BKMEA has  planned to organize single country trade fair and exhibitions of Bangladeshi diversified and high value added knitwear products in the different countries of the EU. In this context, knitwear exporters need to visit EU countries on a regular basis. BKMEA requested EU Ambassador to acknowledge the recommendation of BKMEA for the knitwear exporters and to provide them EU visas within the shortest possible time.
Our Honorable Prime Minister has coined BKMEA’s vision to ensure $21 billion worth of knitwear products from Bangladesh by 2021, which to be $41 billion worth of knitwear products by 2041. So, BKMEA urged to the EU to consider Bangladesh as your major knitwear import hub.

In response to BKMEA request emphasized on rebranding Bangladesh through different activities taken by BKMEA in that connection of greening knitwear industries, generating empowerment for women and other core technological and structural and complaint issues could be main areas of focus where the EU would consider providing assistance in this regard.

Besides Mr. Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Second Vice President, Mr. Mostafa Jamal Pasha Director , Md. Morshed Sarwar (Sohel), Mr. Ashiqur Rahman, Mr. Sheikh H. M. Mustafiz and G. M. Faruque, Ex VP Finance of BKMEA are present in the meeting.