bangladesh covid19
Image: Reuters

Coronavirus: Bangladesh garment industry hit by COVID-19

by Karina Ananenkova

Today, the world is going through a pandemic that is bound to cause an economic slowdown across all industries. Fashion industry is no different- stores have shut down, there are issues with supply chain as well as diminishing customer demand. As the second-largest garment exporter after China, Bangladesh heavily relies on its readymade garment sector. It contributes approximately 84.21% to the country’s total export.

According to the data from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, 2.26 million workers were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fashion giants have put on hold $3.16 billion worth of orders. Most of the factories stopped their operations because of a lack of payment and order cancellations.

An online survey for Bangladesh workers was carried out by Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Global Worker’s Rights. It reports that factories had shut down, some partners refused to pay for the supplies, while fired employees have not yet received payments.

Some of the largest buyers of apparel in Bangladesh include companies like as H&M and PVH Corp; they agreed to pay for the already produced garments, however with some delay. 

BGMAE President – Rubana Huq addressed the partners to help and support each other in these difficult times. 

Eventually the crisis will pass and the industry will recover. However, the question remains, how will this issue affect the relationship between suppliers and buyers in the long run?