Desk Report: Six major Asian garment producing countries have partnered to reach a common position over buyers’ purchasing practices, especially payment and delivery terms, industry people said.
On January 12, nine trade bodies from Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Pakistan, which represent over 60 per cent of the world’s apparel exports agreed to start the new initiative, calling for better purchasing practices in the textile and garment industry.
The move also aims to reduce the imbalance between the global apparel buyers and the textile and garment producers.
The imbalance has increased and been made more visible during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The trade bodies are the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), the Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMA), and the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).
The move came under the STAR (Sustainable Textile of the Asian Region) Network, the first inter-Asian network of producer associations of the textile and garment industry formed in 2016.
“We want to come together as associations and manufacturers in Asia, to agree on common positions regarding payment and delivery terms so that we have a stronger voice in individual and collective discussions with brands and buyers on improving purchasing practices,” spokesperson for the STAR Network Miran Ali said.
The unique aspect of this initiative, Mr Ali said, is raising questions around purchasing practices, such as payment and delivery terms, from the perspective of manufacturers and the associations representing them, making it a true bottom-up initiative that all nine member organizations support.
Quoting Mr Ali, a statement said that “This common position will be powerful as the network represents over 60 per cent of all global apparel exports by manufacturers.”
The textile and garment industry has been characterised by a power imbalance between the brands and buyers on the one end and the textile and garment producers, on the other.
This imbalance has been increased and made more visible during the Covid-19 pandemic, in which order cancellations, especially from the European and US-brands and buyers, left many Asian producers with their backs against the wall, it said.
“The situation has been difficult before,” Mr Ali explained and added, “but Covid-19 changed everything. However, it does not end with COVID-19!”
Until March 2021, the associations will work together in five working groups, defining their “red lines”, requests and recommendations on topics such as payment and delivery practices, planning and information exchange and third-party negotiations, according to the statement.
Based on the output of the working groups, the second phase of the initiative will drive the roll-out in the industry.
Many industry organisations and networks have already pledged support to the initiative, the network said, adding before brands, buyers and other stakeholders are joining the discussion table, manufacturers and associations will use the “safe space” of their new initiative to develop joint requirements and recommendations, to then communicate them with one voice.
The STAR network serves as a platform for dialogue and trust-building to exchange on good practices to make textile and garment production more sustainable.
News Courtesy: The Financial Express