Bangladesh Garment Industry Fears For Future After Attack

NEW DELHI: The horrific killing of diners at a Dhaka cafe has fanned fears that surging violence may imperil the giant garment industry in Bangladesh, which built its economy on cheaply supplying fashion to the world's big-name brands. Gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in the capital's diplomatic quarter on Friday evening, rounding up foreign hostages before murdering 20 people with explosives and machetes,

in a brutal targeting of the small expat community. ISIS released gruesome images of corpses lying in crimson pools on the cafe floor as they claimed responsibility for the deadly 11-hour siege. Most of the victims were Italian or Japanese. "This attack will turn away foreigners," said Faruque Hassan, senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, which represents 4,500 factories. "The impact of this attack will be very damaging for the industry. We are now extremely worried," added Hassan,

whose Giant Group supplies clothes to retailers including Britain's Marks & Spencer and Next. Even before the cafe siege, Bangladesh, the world's second-biggest exporter of apparel after China, was reeling from a wave of killings of religious minorities, liberal activists and foreigners,

including an Italian aid worker last September. Concern is mounting that the South Asian nation, wracked by political instability since independence in 1971, is sliding into deeper chaos, with under-pressure police arresting 11,000 people last month in a desperate crackdown. "The hostage crisis in Dhaka is a terrible tragedy reflecting how security has deteriorated in the country," said Sarah Labowitz, co-director at the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights in New York. The violence presents "a serious threat to the economy," Labowitz said. "This kind of attack will surely keep (fashion) buyers away in the months leading up to the holiday shopping season."

Although a quarter of its 160 million people still live below the poverty line, Bangladesh has clocked growth of around six percent nearly every year since the turn of the millennium. That's largely thanks to garment exports, the lifeblood of its economy, accounting for more than 80 percent of total outbound goods last year. Between them the nation's clothing factories employ more than four million people, most of them impoverished rural women.

Ulrica Bogh Lind, a spokeswoman for H&M, which sources many of its clothes from Bangladesh, told AFP the Swedish chain was "deeply sad about the tragic incident". "We are of course monitoring the situation in Dhaka closely."

News Information

Posted On : 12 Nov 2018

Post By : BdGarments

Category : Garments/Clothing

News Source : Prothom ALo

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