The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has urged the United Kingdom to continue duty-free market access for Bangladeshi products in the UK market beyond 2026 after Bangladesh's graduation from the list of least developed countries.
"I would like to repeat our request to kindly consider an extended transition time up to 2032, as you know that the industry and global fashion industry is severely impacted by the pandemic," reads a letter by BGMEA President Faruque Hassan addressed to the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh Sarah Cooke on 14 September.
In the letter, he thanked her for organising the dialogue on the UK's new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) and opportunities for Bangladesh.
"We express our deepest gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom for introducing such a trade and development friendly tariff scheme which will further contribute to Bangladesh's industry and economy," the BGMEA chief added.
BGMEA said the apparel exporters in Bangladesh are still suffering from post-pandemic turbulences, especially the disruption in buyers sourcing pattern, fuel price hike initially leading to abnormal inflation and now countries are taking measures to curb inflation which is impacting disposable income and consumer spending.
"Furthermore, we need to prepare ourselves with the right investments and readjustment of our facilities" Faruque Hassan wrote in the letter.
The UK is the third largest apparel export destination for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh exported $5.02 billion worth of clothing to the UK in the fiscal 2022-23, which was 11.78% higher than the previous fiscal year.
The BGMEA president in his letter said he believes the DCTS will pave the way for further intensifying the trade relations.
"We wish to stay engaged and updated. Let me also take the opportunity to mention that in the past decade, Bangladesh has made significant strides in ensuring the safety, well-being, and empowerment of workers in the RMG sector," he wrote.
Bangladesh's RMG industry is progressively transitioning towards greener and cleaner production methods, with an impressive 202 LEED-certified green factories, of which 73 have achieved the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.
In recent months, top officials of several global Brands have visited Bangladesh to see the progress