400 Bangladesh’s garment factories barred from accepting Western orders

Garment workers protest for higher wages in Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 9, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 05 August 2019

400 Bangladesh’s garment factories barred from accepting Western orders

  • The Bangladesh garment industry is the second-largest export earning country after China and the sector represents about 16 percent of the economy and employs over 4 million workers

DHAKA: Only 200 out of 1,600 garment factories in Bangladesh have met the requirements of an international accord on worker safety, and 400 factories have been barred from taking international orders, the industry body’s president said on Sunday.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was set up by European fashion brands to improve factory safety in Bangladesh after a garment factory complex collapsed in 2013 killing more than 1,100 people.
The five-year pact was originally due to expire in May 2018 but the transition period has been extended. The pact’s factory oversight team will then hand over to a government body set up for that purpose.
Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), accused the accord’s members of unilaterally imposing new requirements which were hurting the sector. She said she had met with their inspectors on Saturday to urge them to consult with manufacturers on their decisions.
“We had an agreement with Accord in May this year that it will not take any decision unilaterally but that has not been honored,” she said.

BACKGROUND

• Rubana Huq, BGMEA president, says only one in eight Bangladesh’s garment factories passed safety inspection.

• The Bangladesh garment industry is the second-largest export earning country after China.

“Since the formation of Accord, we implemented lot of remediation as per its requirements that involved huge investment. Now, in the name of final checks, the Accord is asking for several remediations.”
Huq also said that of the 1,600 factories inspected by the team between 2014 and 2019, only 200 had been awarded completion certificates.
At least 400 factories which inspectors found were to slow to comply with the new safety rules were as a consequence no longer allowed to accept orders from the Western brands that are members of the accord, she said.
The Bangladesh garment industry is the second-largest export earning country after China and the sector represents about 16 percent of the economy and employs over 4 million workers.
In June, garment manufacturers demanded higher export subsidies from the government, saying proposals in the latest national budget, unveiled last week, were not enough to compensate for higher production costs and low prices.


Saudi companies display latest technologies at Dubai Airshow

Updated 17 November 2019

Saudi companies display latest technologies at Dubai Airshow

DUBAI: Over 25 Saudi companies and government institutions are taking part in the Dubai Airshow hoping to snag deals for their latest defense and aviation technologies being showcased at the biennial event.

The Middle East’s biggest aviation gathering opened on Sunday sans major announcements for big-ticket aircraft purchases from Gulf flagship carriers, maybe also due to dozens of deals already been previously signed and the planes just waiting to be delivered.

Among the major Saudi companies in the event include the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, which has operations from aeronautics, land systems, naval systems, weapons and missiles and defense electronics.

SAMI aims to become among the top 25 companies globally by 2030 and to localize military spending, in line with the Kingdom’s vision.

Among other notable Saudi companies and institutions with a presence at the airshow are Saudi Airlines, flynas, The General Authority of Civil Aviation and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, Saudi INTRA Defense Technologies signed a Memorandum of Agreement with multinational defense company Hensoldt for the co-development and co-production of advanced electro-optic systems, as well as a joint venture agreement with EM&E for the transfer of technology and localization of the precision mechanical industries in the Kingdom.

ESEN Saudi, a hi-tech defense and aerospace engineering and production company, was also launched at the Dubai Airshow’s opening day.

Middle East Propulsion Company, which specializes in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) for the Middle East, was also one of the Saudi companies on site. The company, which boasts of a workforce comprised of Saudi nationals of about 80 percent, aims to expand their services across the GCC and wider Middle East region.

Al-Salam Aerospace Industries meanwhile has on display latest advancements in the manufacture of key components for the F-15 fighter jet.