EU policy shift on fast fashion and the US’s restriction on goods made of Xinjiang’s raw material likely to impact Bangladesh textile and garment industry. Analyzing the two biggest markets, Bangladesh textile and apparel makers should set proper plan to win the markets maintaining competitiveness
According to a report published in The Guardian, the European Commission (EC) called a war against ‘fast fashion’. The Commission is committed ‘fast fashion’ to get out from fashion by 2030, as it announced a vast expansion of eco-design rules that could in future apply to any product, starting with textiles.
Under the eco-design manufacturers of energy-using products are obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts occurring throughout the product life cycle. All textiles should be long-lasting, recyclable, made of recycled fibers and free of dangerous substances.
The EU executive also wants large companies to disclose how much-unsold stock they send to landfill, as part of a wide-ranging plan to crack down on throwaway culture.
Though the Commission said that the used clothes would not need to be thrown away and replaced as often as now and that way consumers will gain an attractive alternative to fast fashion, however it remains unclear how far the plans will change the fashion industry, as decisions on regulating specific products have yet to be taken.
The textiles strategy of the eco-design rules focuses on the environment and the Commission said it would be combined with social initiatives. The commission desires to introduce supply chain rules requiring corporations to root out ‘adverse impacts of their activities on human rights, such as child labor and exploitation of workers.
With the EC’s move fast fashion products manufacturing countries like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Turkey are likely to face challenges.
Some Readymade Garments (RMG) industry leaders assumed that killing fast fashion will potentially kill millions of jobs unless we act very fast. Also, Bangladesh’s textile and apparel sector’s comparative advantage will be significantly crumbled in the EU market. To sustain Bangladesh needs to work for durable, high-end products.
On the other hand, US Customs and Border Protection started recently to enforce the ‘Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which US President Joe Biden signed into law in December.
According to the act, the US authority has set restrictions on the import of goods from the Xinjiang region of China. Under the rules, if any firm imports any goods from any country, it needs to show evidence that the imported goods have no link with Xinjiang’s raw materials.
Bangladesh’s apparel export to the United States may face obstacle for this newly enforced act. Any garment produced in Bangladesh cannot enter the USA, if it is manufactured from imported fabric using the cotton of Xinjiang. The products will be seized if any connection to Xinjiang cotton is found.
Already Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association (BGBA) has asked its members to be cautious about sourcing raw materials imported from the Xinjiang region.
Apparel makers have to develop alternatives to source yarn and fabric. Though the knitters can source yarn and fabric from the local market. However, the woven sub-sector that meets the majority of its demand for fabric through import might face some challenges.
In this situation, Bangladesh textile and apparel exporters have to analyze the two biggest markets to set proper strategy to continue exporting goods there.