The United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA) expresses our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the devastating factory fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited. This factory is not, and never has been, an International Affiliate of USA-ITA.

Bangladesh is one of the largest suppliers of apparel to the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Bangladesh’s apparel industry is one of the most important industries in the country, as it creates jobs and economic opportunity for many of Bangladesh’s 160 million people.

While there remain labor challenges in the apparel industry, as evidenced by the recent fire, there are likewise many reputable, well-managed factories in Bangladesh, with employers who care about the well-being of their employees and have undergone fire safety training and certification by international third-party organizations. The factory that caught fire was not one of these factories.

USA-ITA encourages our member companies to only source from Bangladeshi factories that have undergone fire safety training and certification, and have the supporting documentation to prove it. On June 5, 2012, we hosted a webinar on the importance of fire safety training in Bangladesh, and over 100 individuals participated, including representatives from the leading U.S. apparel brands and retailers as well as representatives from factories in Bangladesh. In addition, we have actively advocated for fair labor and human rights practices in Bangladesh.

USA-ITA member companies are wholly committed to working with factories that have fair labor and human rights practices. In fact, many of our member companies personally visit the factories from which they source to ensure that the labor practices are up to international standards, and our member companies’ sourcing executives often work with their suppliers to ensure that they are up to date on the latest standards and practices in all labor issues, including fire safety.

USA-ITA strongly urges factories in Bangladesh to undergo necessary fire safety training and certification, and ensure that you are compliant with international labor standards.