Bangladesh garment industry braces for fallout from Dhaka attack

DHAKA/MUMBAI: Some leaders of Bangladesh’s $26 billion garment industry anticipate Western-style retailers to review their ties with the world’s 2nd-largest garment exporter after 18 foreigners were killed in an attack on a Dhaka restaurant.

Bangladeshi soldiers come out of an area housing a restaurant popular with foreigners after heavily armed militants attacked it on Friday night and took dozens of hostages, in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. (AP)

Bangladesh, one of the globe’s poorest international locations, is predicated on clothes for around eighty percent of its exports and about four million jobs and ranks in the back of only China as a provider of clothes to evolved markets like Europe the united states.

Militants killed 20 human beings, such as 9 Italians, seven Japanese, an Indian, and an American, inside an upmarket restaurant in Bangladesh’s capital, earlier than security forces stormed the building and ended a 12-hour standoff on Saturday.

Islamic Country stated it changed into chargeable for one of the maximum brazen attacks inside the South Asian country’s records; however that declaration has but to be confirmed.

It marks a primary escalation in a marketing campaign through militants over the past 18 months that had focused primarily on individuals advocating a secular or liberal lifestyle in majority-Muslim Bangladesh with one hundred sixty million human beings.

“An incident like this could virtually impact us, in as a good deal as our importers from places which includes (the) U.S. And China will be cautious about visiting because of the safety concerns,” stated Shahidul Haque Mukul, handling director of Ananta garments.

The industry had been recovering strongly from a main tragedy 3 years in the past, when a manufacturing facility building collapsed, killing more than 1 hundred humans, prompting protection exams that led to many factory closures and the loss of exports and jobs.

It had also seemed little touched with the aid of a spate of new murders on liberals, homosexual people, foreigners, and religious minorities in sporadic assaults claimed using Islamic State and al Qaeda.

However, Friday’s attack signaled an extra chilling chance to foreigners. The militants targeted a building housing upmarket eateries popular with foreigners, and several of these killed were Italian garment entrepreneurs.

Italy’s fabric imports from Bangladesh greater than trebled inside the closing decade to reach $1.31 billion closing 12 months, as low price garment manufacturing moved outdoor the EU united states.

“Bangladesh has never visible such a horrific incident,” said Mohammad Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Producers and Exporters Association.

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“It’s far a robust slap to our picture. It will put stress on our enterprise, but we can not say to what extent at the moment.”

A Bangladesh-primarily based govt for a French-based totally garment buyer stated he feared a deep slump in a commercial enterprise in the coming days.

However, different industry figures stated heightened security fears might be controlled. That Producers may want to preserve greater meetings with Western clients outdoor Bangladesh, in Asian cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong, a trend that had all started a while in the past.

“Worries on traveling our factories, holding conferences, etc., with the aid of overseas nationals, can be there for some months; however I trust inside six months, the intensity will thaw and matters may be lower back to normal,” said Abdullah Hil Rakib, head of exporter Brothers fashion Ltd.

At the least, Ecu retailers who source clothes from Bangladesh, Sweden’s H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB and Britain’s Marks and Spencer Institution %, say their operations inside the u. S. A. Are not without delay affected.

Each said their workers are unaffected, including they have been monitoring the situation.

“There are no plans in changing any sourcing; however, we’re following the development closely,” Ulrica Bogh Lind, spokeswoman for H & M, told Reuters.

She stated the agency had “safety routines” for employees, adding the agency was in contact with its office in Dhaka.

The industry owes its resilience to some sector’s lowest wages, the right skills, and the truth that China has ended up much less aggressive as a manufacturer in current years.

The minimum monthly wage for garment people in Bangladesh is $68, compared to witopproximately $280 in mainland China.