US Ambassador Dan Mozena on Monday expressed his hope that all the stakeholders in Bangladesh’s apparel sector will choose the path that makes Brand Bangladesh a mighty global brand, reminding that America will not buy shirts stained with the blood of Bangladeshi workers.
“I’m confident the stakeholders will choose the path that makes Brand Bangladesh a mighty global brand, the best brand, the biggest brand, indeed, the brand of the world’s largest exporter of apparel… that is what I believe,” he told a function in the city.
Quoting one of the most powerful leaders of the US Congress, Mozena said: “America won’t buy shirts stained with the blood of Bangladeshi workers… that is my message.”
The US diplomat said the message was clear and powerful. “After the horrific disasters of the Tazreen Fashions fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse, there simply can’t be any more such horrid disasters.”
He said the time has come to transform the apparel sector of Bangladesh and all – owners, workers, government, buyers, international organizations, friends and partners of Bangladesh – must work together to ensure that the horrors of Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza are never repeated.
“Indeed, working together, we can transform Bangladesh’s apparel sector. To that end, I commit myself, my mission, my government to do everything that we can to help Bangladesh’s apparel sector lead the way in Bangladesh becoming the next Asian Tiger,” Mozena said.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) arranged the event marking the launching ceremony of DCCI Help Desk and unveiling of ‘US Products and Services Info Center’ at the DCCI auditorium.
President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed and Registrar of Joint Stock Companies Bijon Kumar Baishya also spoke at the function chaired by DCCI President M Sabur Khan.
The US ambassador emphasized joint efforts to ensure that these tragedies have not been in vain, to ensure that these tragedies are never repeated, to ensure that Brand Bangladesh is a Preferred Brand. “We must first understand the cause of these horrible, deadly disasters,” he said.
Mozena said greed, corruption and ignorance in these two disasters snuffed out the lives of 1243 innocent Bangladeshi women and men.
“Such is the legacy of unfettered greed, corruption and ignorance… but from the ashes and crumbled concrete of these disasters arise a great hope … a hope that these tragedies will mark an end to disasters in Bangladesh’s apparel sector.”
The US envoy said stakeholders in the apparel sector need to decide how to deal with fundamental issues of workers’ rights to freely associate and organize; issues of fire safety, of factory structural soundness.
Stakeholders can deal forthrightly, aggressively, constructively in addressing and resolving these fundamental issues, he said.
“Some stakeholders might prefer the second course of action, hoping that the world will forget as the clock ticks on. Some continue to oppose workers’ rights to freely associate and organize, and harass or fire workers who seek to create legitimate unions.”
Mozena mentioned that Bangladesh’s many friends, including the US, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and the UK, among others, are offering significant resources and technical assistance to help Bangladesh seize this opportunity to get it right on labor rights, fire safety, and factory structural soundness.
“The challenge now is for the stakeholders to seize this opportunity, to embrace change and constructively address the fundamental issues of workers’ rights, fire safety and factory structural soundness, thus setting the stage for Bangladesh’s emergence as a preferred brand,” he said.