“An international panel of experts recently recommended that the developed countries allow 100% duty and quota free (DFQF) entry of products to their markets from least developed countries (LDCs), such as Bangladesh. As trade is the most viable vehicle to reducing poverty and economic development in the long run, we whole-heartedly support this recommendation.”
When the Rana Plaza collapsed earlier this year, many of my western friends contacted me to ask “what should we do?” The world, quite rightly, was horrified and people wanted to make sure such carnage could never happen again.
Thoughts ranged from: Stop buying clothes from the stores which keep the garment factory girls in such squalid, illegal conditions to giving money to the dozen or so charities which were hastily set up to respond to the disaster. While some of the charities have done some excellent work (as I commented on here), most of the suggested solutions and ideas are pointless, if not even harmful to the very people the world wants to see better off.
Here then, from the Dhaka Tribune, is an editorial which I think points in the right direction – not just about the immediate future of the Garment industry in Bangladesh, but for the country as a whole in the long term.
Bangladesh is the seventh largest country in the world by population. It’s people are hard-working and inventive – they’ve had to be in a country where disasters, man-made and natural strike everywhere without warning all the time. It’s a country which in just forty-odd short years has pulled itself up at incredible speed and deserves to get a ‘bigger slice of the pie’ in global terms.
Bangladesh doesn’t need charity, it doesn’t need: it needs trade – as the editorial puts it ‘with dignity’.
Well, that’s not quite true – for while the Developed countries of the West continue to monopolize the global market and keep small players in Asia out, Bangladesh will continue to need charity and it will continue to suffer exploitation and disasters like Rana Plaza. And that’s just not dignified at all.