A high-level delegation representing the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Labour met Faruque Hassan, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Tuesday.
The meeting, which took place at BGMEA Complex in Dhaka, aimed to discuss a variety of crucial issues, including bilateral trade opportunities, environmental sustainability, workplace safety, workers' rights, and wellbeing, said a press release, BSS reports.
The U.S. delegation consisted of Brendan Lynch, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for South and Central Asia; Ms. Mahnaz Khan, Director for South Asia, Office of U.S. Trade Representative; Christopher Kazlauskas, Deputy Director, Office of Trade & Labour Affairs, U.S. Department of Labour; Seamas Whitesel, Director for South Asia Regional Affairs, National Security Council; and Ms. Leena Khan, Labour Attach‚, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of Labour.
BGMEA was represented by its President Faruque Hassan along with Vice President Shahidullah Azim, Vice President Md. Nasir Uddin, Directors Barrister Shehrin Salam Oishee, Faisal Samad, Abdullah Hil Rakib, Haroon Ar Rashid, Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on ILO Affairs ANM Saifuddin, Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on Foreign Mission Cell Shams Mahmmud, and Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on Press, Publication, and Publicity Shovon Islam.
During the meeting, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan provided an overview of Bangladesh's readymade garment (RMG) industry, emphasizing the industry's progress in areas such as workplace safety, green growth, workers' rights, and labour law reforms.
He also highlighted the government's initiatives to enhance workers' rights, particularly through amendments to labour laws. Faruque Hassan further briefed the USTR and Labour Department officials about BGMEA's initiatives, including the arbitration-cum-conciliation committee (CAC), which offers alternative dispute resolution services to workers at no cost.
The CAC, led by a retired district judge, plays a pivotal role in resolving disputes between factory owners and employees, reducing the number of cases brought before labour courts and saving time and resources for workers.
The meeting concluded on a positive note, with both sides expressing their willingness to work collaboratively towards a more sustainable and worker friendly future for Bangladesh's RMG industry.