On July 17th, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) joined three other U.S.-based apparel and retail associations in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership on two Defense Appropriations provisions that could negatively impact U.S. brands and retailers doing business in Bangladesh. According to the letter:
There are two provisions in question. The first–Section 8102–would require military exchanges who source garments from Bangladesh to: 1) join the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (Accord) and 2) only contract with companies who are members of the Accord. The second–Section 8103–would require the Department of Defense to require licensees who source in Bangladesh to join Accord.
While these provisions seek to address the concerns we all share about building and worker safety in Bangladesh, they unfortunately ignore the work that is being done in Bangladesh by other organizations, such as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which was created by 26 U.S. and Canadian firms last year. Focusing on only one organization picks favorites and undermines a cooperative relationship that has been recognized by other parts of the U.S. Government as well as by international agencies, such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The letter is available here.