BGMEA president Faruque Hassan has requested all members of the organization to stand against manufacturing counterfeit goods by taking this issue seriously and also taking necessary steps.
The president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) urged this in a letter to the members issued on February 23.
“You have probably noticed about USTR’s Special 301 Review on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection and Enforcement in Bangladesh in media reports,” he said in the letter.
The American Apparel and Footwear Association (Aafa) and the Paris-based Union des Fabricants (Unifab) made a submission to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to include Bangladesh, China, and the European Union in the priority watch list of USTR’s Special 301 Review for alleged involvement in exporting counterfeit goods, including clothing, the letter read.
In its submission, Aafa mentioned that “while being an important legitimate sourcing country for the industry, counterfeits from Bangladesh are being seized at an increasing rate globally as counterfeit production is growing.”
AAFA also said that “well-organized Bangladeshi-run counterfeiting networks effectively exported counterfeits for sales to consumers in the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries”.
It also mentioned statistics about ‘surplus’/’overrun’ products indicating the trading of stock-lots.
USTR conducts a regular annual Special 301 Review which concerns IPR protection and enforcement. The process includes a public comment period, he added.
BGMEA has taken this matter seriously and is working with the government.
The government has made an initial submission already and a detailed submission is being prepared currently, the letter read.
Though as an LDC, Bangladesh enjoys international support measures in the form of development assistance and certain waivers, however we should not label ourselves as a source of counterfeit goods, he added.
So far, they focused mostly on social and environmental compliance issues and now have to pay more attention to these emerging issues governing trade across borders, he also said.
“I would like to request you to remain more careful about right ownership of the products you are manufacturing, particularly if the order is placed by a licensee, importer or an agent of the brand owner. BGMEA will take up awareness and capacity-building programs around this issue which include raising awareness, dissemination of relevant knowledge and information, and so on,” said the BGMEA President.
They should commit themselves to say no to any business that involves violation of IPR and if they can do so, it will give them an extra edge as they are transitioning to a middle income country.
“On the other hand, we will be able to retain the trust and confidence of our valued customers which we have built over more than 40 years,” he added.