The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) on March 10.
AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar and BGMEA President Faruque Hassan shared the pen in Washington, D.C. during the annual AAFA Executive Summit which convenes the AAFA Board of Directors and industry leadership.
BGMEA Vice President Miran Ali, Directors Abdullah Hil Rakib and Barrister Vidiya Amrit Khan, Chairman of BGMEA Standing Committee on Foreign Mission Cell Shams Mahmud, and Director of Mahmud Group Gazi Mahbubul Alam were present at the meeting.
The two groups will explore opportunities and work together to increase trade access for Bangladesh to the U.S. market, improve purchasing practices, build on the great work already done by the Bangladeshi industry on sustainability, and expand the strong partnership between the U.S. and Bangladeshi industries.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, “Together, we aim to unlock the potential of Bangladesh’s RMG sector by enhancing competitiveness through building capacities and embracing innovations and technologies, and facilitating trade access to the US market. We also aim to develop joint programs that train workers and mid-and top-management, explore new CSR initiatives to support the well-being of the workers and communities and more.”
AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar said, “AAFA’s comprehensive work ensures the continued success and growth of the global apparel and footwear industry, its suppliers, and its customers. With this in mind, agreements with strategic partners around the world help reduce trade barriers, encourage sharing of ESG best practices, and promote innovation on behalf of our members.”
Today’s collaboration marks increased capacity building to support joint practices and training to advance supply chain sustainability, expand trade opportunities, improve the buyer-supplier partnership, he added.
As per the understanding, the AAFA will support Bangladesh in promoting its trade interests in the US market, especially advocating for the withdrawal of GSP suspension to recognize the progress made in the local industry in the area of workplace safety, workers’ well-being, and environmental sustainability.
AAFA, a trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, will also work closely with BGMEA to advocate for improved trade preferences and programs between the United States and Bangladesh.
AAFA, which represents more than 1,000 world-famous name brands, retailers, and manufacturers, along with BGMEA will pursue to improve the partnership between buyers and suppliers through responsible purchasing practices.
They will also work collaboratively on capacity building to cut time and cost, to make the supply chain more sustainable, via developing joint programs to train workers and mid/top management.
And a special collaboration with BGMEA Center for Innovation, Efficiency & OSH, and a collaborative arrangement between the Parties and BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology (BUFT).
The two associations will inspire buyers-supplier collaboration to upscale product development and innovation capability to explore untapped segments of the export market, via joint research, coaching programs, sharing of knowledge and information like fashion trend analysis and forecasting, matchmaking events, media campaigns, etc.
They will also work on creating joint scoping missions to explore bilateral investment opportunities, particularly in backward linkage textile industries in Bangladesh, especially in the non-cotton segment.
AAFA and BGMEA will collaborate to deepen discussion towards a unified code of conduct, or unified approach, like symphonizing, for social and environmental audits in manufacturing facilities, via setting up of a Joint Committee with clear terms of engagement.
They will also set up a corporate alliance on CSR initiatives to ensure the well-being of the workers and communities.