April 11, 2020
From the end of last year, the world is experiencing such a horrible nightmare situation due to the super deadly COVID-19 virus. The virus first found in China and till now more than 100000 people died and more than 1.7 million people have been affected (11 April).
The world economy is turmoil due to this virus. As most of the Asian country’s economy is manufacturing-based and nearly all kinds of raw materials supplied by China for all types of industry including textile and apparel factories got stuck for the last 3-4 months.
Now, most of the apparel brands canceling or halting their orders though some of the big retailers like H&M, M&S, PVH, Inditex, KIABI, etc. assured to receive the finished and work-in-process goods. But they are not going for new orders as almost all stores of the brands closed down due to lockdown in the countries.
Asian manufacturers mostly export to USA and EU countries and right now the deadly virus is drifting its rampage in these countries. Only in the USA, almost half a million people have been affected, Italy and Spain also hit hard by this virus thus the regular life is stuck there and manufacturers from Asia are remaining idle. Though the situation in China is getting normal and they have started importing and exporting.
Bangladesh is the 2nd largest apparel manufacturer in the world after China but like China, it has no safe exit from this pandemic. Already $3 billion worth orders have been canceled and in a recent interview to a journal, Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “We also have a cumulative liability of the unfinished goods, so the liability is probably going to be running up to almost $10 billion” which is almost one-third of this country’s total export.
World Trade Organization (WTO) unveiled a scary PR on 8 April where it indicted that including apparel and textiles, overall global trade could drop between 13 and 32 percent due to the Coronavirus pandemic this year.
So, a country like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, etc. those economies mostly depends on apparel goods export are yet to suffer more in the coming days.
Because globally peoples are right now not bothered about fashion, health issue and survival is the priority here.
Governments are giving bailout packages and low-interest loan facilities to the business entities. But how much long developing and under-developing country economy can hold this facility that is the issue now.
In this regard, Rubana Huq said well, “I think it’s a different reality for people in the West because you are being given bailout packages by the government, the government is looking after businesses, so I don’t think it’s very wise of us to assume that they’re in a worse position, because most of their conversations are starting from a loss of profit and here it’s probably a loss of breath.”
Therefore, the retailer companies should play a vital role here by giving basic support to their suppliers as they can survive this turmoil period. Because after this pandemic, these manufacturers definitely will manufacture for them and the workers will live their life by giving their labor, flesh, and blood.