Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Faruque Hassan on Tuesday said that the United States’ visa restrictions would not put any impact on apparel exports to the American market for now.
He also said that the US has not put any sanction on the country rather it imposed visa restrictions on individuals. Faruque said this while addressing a press conference on the current scenario of the readymade garment sector held at the BGMEA headquarters at Uttara in the capital.
He said, “US authorities have rights to determine who would be allowed to enter in their country and it would not hamper business. We’re not concerned about the visa restrictions, rather we’re working to address the business-related concerns of the US.”
He added, “Recently a delegation from the Office of the United States Trade Representative visited BGMEA for the first time and expressed their concerns over the reforms of labour laws and minimum wages of the workers. We informed the delegation that the process for the amendment of labor laws is going on and at the same time the minimum wage board, formed by the government, is working to review the workers’ wages. During the pandemic they could not travel to any country although business was running. If the US imposes visa restrictions on any individual businessman, it would not hurt export of apparel to the US for now.”
The BGMEA president in the press conference further said, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) has recently claimed that 10 companies laundered Tk 300 crore in the name of RMG exports, which was completely false. Out of 10 companies, four are the members of BGMEA and two are registered with Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). We had formed a committee to investigate the matter and it was found that the firms are not involved in such activities.”
He demanded to form a separate task force to investigate the allegation of money laundering by the garment factories so the truth is revealed.
The BGMEA president also claimed that without any investigation, the CIID issued a media release blaming garment companies for laundering money which was a conspiracy against the export sector and country as well. If the officials of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) failed to prove allegations against garment companies, they will have to face legal action.
Former BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said that it was a deviation from law as a media release has been issued with false allegations against the garment industry. Mohiuddin, also a parliament member, said that the officials who spread false news against the garment sector and hampered the image of the country should be punished.
Among others, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy, senior vice-president SM Mannan Kochi and vice-president Md Shahidullah Azim joined the press conference.